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Shell to push into Seattle port despite city opposition

Shell officials have told the Seattle Times that the company's oil rigs intend to arrive at the Port of Seattle to prepare for a drilling excursion in the Arctic Ocean despite a push from the city and the Port to keep them out, at least for now.

The Port commission voted on Tuesday to appeal a Seattle government decision that said the Port needs a new permit to host Shell's fleet of drilling ships. But the commission also asked Shell to delay its arrival until the city and the Port have settled their dispute over the permit.

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But Shell told the Times that "rig movement will commence in days to come," and Foss Maritime, the Seattle company that will work with Shell, said it will move forward as well.

"We are going to proceed," Foss CEO Paul Stevens told the Times, saying the first drilling ships will arrive on Thursday. "These rigs and our operation will be in and out of here before there is any conclusion on the appeal process.”

Shell plans to use Seattle's port as a base as it heads to the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska to begin drilling. The federal government approved the company's Arctic plans on Monday.

Last week, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray attempted to block the company's arrival in the city, saying the Port needs a new type of permit to handle the fleet.

Shell says it needs to move quickly to begin drilling in the Arctic, where it hopes to eventually drill six wells. 

Environmental groups have slammed the government's decision to approve Shell's drilling plan, warning about the environmental consequences of allowing oil rigs in the Arctic Ocean.