SEATTLE (AP) -- Activists opposed to drilling for oil in the Arctic plan to launch a flotilla of kayaks and other boats on Seattle's Elliott Bay on Saturday, two days after the arrival of a towering oil rig that is the centerpiece of Shell's Arctic drilling fleet.
The "Paddle in Seattle" -- a daylong, family friendly park festival and an on-the-water protest by "Shell No" kayaktivists -- aims to continue the message sent as the Polar Pioneer drilling rig arrived: "Stand up for the climate and say no to Shell's drilling plans."
"This weekend is another opportunity for the people to demand that their voices be heard," Alli Harvey, Alaska representative for the Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign, said in a statement Friday. "Science is as clear as day when it comes to drilling in the Arctic: the only safe place for these dirty fuels is in the ground."
The gathering is expected to draw thousands both on land and in the water. At the center of the paddle protest will be the "People's Platform," a 4,000-square-foot barge powered by renewable energy, said Jonathon Berman with the Sierra Club.
Just a quarter-mile away sits the 400-foot (122-meter) long, 300-foot (91-meter) tall Polar Pioneer, the first of two oil drilling rigs that Royal Dutch Shell plans to use this summer as it explores for oil off Alaska's northern coast. The second rig, the Noble Discoverer, arrived at the Port of Everett last week and is slated join the Polar Pioneer at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 at a later date.
The Arctic holds about 30 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas and 13 percent of its oil, according to Shell's website.
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