Today is the last chance to tell Puget Sound Energy that making a Tacoma Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) plant is a bad idea.
The proposed Puget Sound Energy LNG plant on the Tacoma Tideflats has been in the works since 2014. It's faced virulent opposition ever since. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, which issued preliminary approval of the facility last month, will hear public comment one final time today before it makes the decision about whether or not construction of the facility will go forward.
Opponents of the facility, led by the Puyallup Tribe whose land will be impacted by its construction, gathered in Tacoma on Tuesday for the hearing.
The Puyallup Tribe has been outspoken about the construction from the beginning. "The cost of this project goes far beyond monetary value, these are our lives and homes," David Z. Bean, chairman of the seven-member Puyallup Tribal Council said during the first hearing.
According to Bean, 18 tribes across Washington oppose the project. "For water to drink, air to breathe, the agency must do what is right and deny the permit," he told the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
Here's a little primer on the history of the LNG plant, compliments of the Tacoma News Tribune:
"It’s incredibly important that the community of Tacoma and the people who are concerned about this facility let their voices be heard today," Stephanie Hillman, co-leader of Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition, told The Stranger. "The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's preliminary approval of this facility is absolutely unacceptable to us."
So why don't protesters want a PSE LNG plant in Tacoma? They say it's a bad investment. Not a monetary investment, but an investment in our climate.
While getting maritime vessels off of bunker fuel and switching to natural gas may sound good in the short-term, creating a giant facility to natural gas is a bad idea. The extraction, transportation, and storage of natural gas actually releases more methane leaks into the atmosphere because of malfunctions that official reports, like those from the EPA, don't catch.
Local lawmakers are also opposed to it. Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant told The Stranger earlier this year that that project would "significantly increase the fossil fuel infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest."
Governor Jay Inslee—you know, the guy from those Democratic debates—said in May that he's "no longer convinced that locking in these multi-decadal infrastructure projects are sufficient to accomplishing what’s necessary" and that the "state’s efforts and future investments in energy infrastructure should focus on clean, renewable sources rather than fossil fuels."
Determined not to be complicit in a decades-long mistake, protesters have flocked to Tacoma today. There will be two hearings: one from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the second from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. There was a rally beforehand and a march to the Rialto Theater, where the hearings are being held.