AP

Dozens of protesters in Seattle Monday shut down the entrance to the sea terminal where Shell's massive Polar Pioneer drilling rig is docked.

The 292-foot tall vessel sailed into Elliott Bay last week after the Obama administration approved Shell's general permit to begin drilling in the Chukchi Sea west of Alaska.

Advertisement

Environmentalists have surrounded it in one form or another almost every day since. On Monday, they blocked all road access to the Terminal 5 cargo facility in the Port of Seattle.

There were no immediate reports of arrests.

Monday's action comes after a weekend in which dozens of "kayaktivists" streamed into the bay Friday and Saturday.

The White House has defended the decision to grant the permits by saying they are part of the president's "all of the above" strategy.

Advertisement

"The President is committed to ensuring that we are doing as much as we can to protect our energy security, and that means looking for opportunities to safely develop sources of energy on American soil," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said one week ago. "And I think this — again, this decision reflects the effort to pursue that all-of-the-above approach."

The city of Seattle has been moving to prevent Shell from using the port as its base of operations for its Arctic drilling plants by requiring a new permit, but the company says it can legally be there.

And Seattle Mayor Ed Murray recently admitted the city is largely powerless beyond issuing fines.

“While requiring a permit may not stop the Port’s plans, it does give the Port an opportunity to pause, an opportunity to rethink the issue,” Murray said according to the Seattle Times.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.