The 22nd of May was the second day of Beyond Extreme Energy’s series of daily protests against fracking, gas export, and other forms of extreme energy. With FERC heavily guarded by cops, protesters diverted across town to the Department of the Interior. Just as FERC rubberstamps fracking and gas export infrastructure permits, DOI rubberstamps oil drilling permits, including Shell’s permits for offshore arctic driling. This protest had originally been planned for later in the day, but this way activsts got inside DOI unopposed for the sit-in while all the cops were still at FERC.
One of the signs at the Beyond Extreme Energy(BXE) sit-in at the Department of the Interior bluntly stated “Shell is drilling us into Hell.” There were chants both inside and out of “Shell No! Save the Arctic.”
This protest constitutes effective solidarity for the activists in Seattle who blockaded the port earlier in the week in response to the arrival of Shell’s drilling rigs which are on their way to the Arctic Ocean. Over the previous weekend, as protesters in small boats gathered the scene there was actually called the “paddle in Seattle,” a reference to the huge November 30, 1999 “Battle in Seattle” that shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting there.
The Department of the Interior is notorious not only for their role as the mining and oil industry’s rubber stamp, but also for the brutal anti-Native American “artwork” painted on the walls inside some of their hallways and rooms.The security lobby is free of these paintings, but inside is another story.