Dang! Another day, another protest at the Port of Tacoma construction site for Puget Sound Energy's liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility. At around 6:30 this morning, three protesters locked themselves down to tripods blocking the gates of the site. Workers eventually found their way in to work, though, and when reached by phone, the protesters were in the process of taking the tripods down.
As explained in a post about a similar protest earlier this week, the LNG facility sits on the ancestral land of the Puyallup Tribe, in between two sections of the reservation. The Puyallup have been fighting the facility for years, arguing that the construction of the site could create a plume of toxic sediment that would have an impact on their ability to fish in treaty waters.
Dakota Case, 28, a Puyallup tribal member on the scene this morning, said by phone that the Tribe is currently fighting a shoreline permit for the facility in court. "What these actions mean to me is, this action is buying my kids another day in the future," he said. "We've got 82 years to get our stuff together before my kids, my grandkids, know true suffering, on the simple fact that our dependence on fossil fuels is out of hand."
Case noted that while his grandparents and great-grandparents could once depend on fishing to support the entire family for an entire month, "now you're lucky to catch 20 fish all day." The pH changes at the mouth of the Puyallup River, he claimed, were because of corporations polluting the water.
The City of Tacoma has contended that building the LNG facility will actually create better air and water quality. The city says it is not building over the plume of polluted sediment, and if there's a spill while transferring LNG to ships, the LNG will immediately evaporate and not have lasting environmental impacts (as opposed to the diesel or bunker fuel ships currently use).
Still, climate activists and researchers have pointed out that the process of creating liquefied natural gas may not be as good for the environment as advertised. The entire lifecycle of producing and then chilling the gas is an energy intensive process that could become responsible for the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the near-future.