Laura Loe
3 min readJan 7, 2020

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Statement to Port Of Seattle January 7, 2020

Hello.

My name is Laura and I’m part of an equitable land use organizing collective in Seattle called Share The Cities with about 40 active members.

I’m a renter just south of the Ballard bridge, a community gardener and former middle school math & science teacher.

First, I’d like to say that the statements during the swearing in by Sam Cho & Fred Felleman were moving and I’m proud to be represented by them.

Secondly, thank you for supporting my lovely neighbors in the Interbay Tiny House Village. I recommend everyone follow their Facebook page to learn more about their community.

We say we value workers rights, reducing air pollution and fighting worldwide climate change. All of us say it. You have the power to do something about it.

What we prioritize for public policy must reflect our stated morals and ethics.

Please pause and think of a 50 year, 75 year and 100 year analysis … don’t let upfront lost revenue it we halt cruise ship expansion be the priority in your analysis.

Long term, each of you has the power and responsibility to shift an industry that has long done whatever it can to avoid accountability.

If you won’t hold them accountable, then who will?

I’d prefer you don’t approve the new cruise terminal, but if you do make your climate and workers rights asks BIG and BOLD to this industry who is hurting our planet

This new terminal is a big bargaining chip. Don’t waste that.

In 2016, the Pacific Standard reported that “each passenger’s carbon footprint while cruising is roughly three times what it would be on land.

According to a Vox.com article from 2018:

“By registering their companies in foreign countries, cruise lines are able to dodge not only corporate income tax but reasonable labor laws. Royal Caribbean is incorporated in Liberia, where the minimum wage is $4 to $6 per day, Carnival in Panama, where the minimum wage ranges from $1.22 to $2.36 per hour, and Norwegian in Bermuda, where there is currently no minimum wage (although one will be implemented starting in May 2019).

“Carnival will earn $3 billion and they’ll pay no corporate income tax at all,” Klein says. “That’s $3 billion net profit.

And then there’s the lobbying

… from 1997 to 2015, Carnival has spent $4.7 million, Royal Caribbean has spent $10 million. Last year, three cruise lines donated a combined $23,500 to an Alaskan senator who then ensured a tax exemption for ships stopping in Alaska.

And now back to the climate concerns:

Fortune Magazine reported in October:

“Oil tankers, container ships, and cruise liners guzzle massive amounts of fuel. This “bunker” fuel is chock-full of sulfur, which means it emits more poisonous gases and harmful particles when burned than does motor-vehicle fuel. All told, the maritime industry is responsible for 2.5% of all greenhouse gases along with millions of childhood asthma cases and thousands of premature deaths”

I won’t deny that our city, county and state rely heavily on tourism revenue. I, too, worry about the impact to local small businesses if they lose customers, and other day-to-day concerns, but I don’t want these to take precedence over lofty, bold goals because of difficult short term impacts.

What would voting for a cruise ship terminal expansion say about our values? Our priorities?

If you won’t hold them accountable who will?

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Laura Loe

Laura Loe is a renter, an educator, a musician, and a gardener from Colombia/NY/LA/Chicago who has lived in Seattle for over 10 years.