Environmental, Health, and Social Justice Advocates Respond to Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Puget Sound Energy LNG Facility in Tacoma, Washington
TACOMA, WA – The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) released its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) on Friday for the Puget Sound Energy (PSE) liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, which continues to be built without permits in Tacoma, WA on Medicine Creek Treaty territory. Local community groups responded on Monday by amplifying the Puyallup Tribe’s call for Governor Inslee and the Washington Department of Ecology to initiate a supplemental review that honors the Tribe’s legal rights to consultation, evaluates the many changes to the project, and fairly weighs the science of methane pollution from fracked gas infrastructure.
“Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma (ACT) believes that the concerns of the public and the Puyallup Tribe about the health and safety risks of the PSE LNG facility and the global impact of the continued use of fracked gas were not adequately addressed by the City of Tacoma in its role as the lead agency in the project,” said Janna Stewart, a founding board member of Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma. “We support the challenges to this project.”
“Climate change is undeniable and the consequences are becoming more severe, as devastating flood events in Mozambique and the Midwest make clear,” read a statement from Redefine Tacoma, a grassroots group promoting equity and sustainability in the Puyallup Estuary and the Salish Sea. “It is our moral obligation- to the planet and to each other- to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure.”
“The best available science clearly demonstrates that this facility is worse than doing nothing at all and perhaps even worse than coal,” said 350 Tacoma in a statement. “Time for more residents to rise up and demand that higher powers in Washington intercede.”
“We are disappointed that PSCAA is advancing a fossil fuel project of this magnitude when we all know reducing climate emissions right now is more important than ever,” said Melissa Malott, Executive Director of Citizens for a Healthy Bay. “We will continue to review the details of their analysis and share information with the public this week.”
“The Puyallup Tribe, citizens of Tacoma, and residents of the Salish Sea have a right to know the total local and global impacts of the LNG facility being built on the Tacoma Tideflats,” said LeeAnne Beres, Executive Director of Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light. “With missing data and alterations to the project, this FSEIS does not account for the project’s full climate impacts. People of faith add our voice to the chorus calling for the City of Tacoma to commission a more thorough Environmental Impact Statement and for PSCAA to deny the facility’s air permit until such a review is complete.”
“We have much work to do,” said Benita Moore with Native Daily Network which recently produced the documentary film “Ancestral Waters,” about the Puyallup Tribe’s fight against the LNG facility.
Residents also raised concerns about the health and safety of people living near the facility and immigrants being held in the nearby Northwest Detention Center and called on the PSCAA to deny permits for the Tacoma LNG facility.
“The Conversation, as a social justice group, sees the LNG project in our urban area as a serious health and safety risk to those being held at the NW Detention Center, local residents, and the Puyallup Tribe,” said Barbara Church on behalf of the group. “Consequently, we are asking the City to do a new environmental impact statement.”
“We are gravely concerned about the lack of accountability and transparency that PSCAA has demonstrated in failing to show how the more than 1,500 immigrants detained daily in Tacoma’s for-profit immigration prison (NWDC) will be protected from low-level refinery toxins, or if and how they will be evacuated in the event of a catastrophic emergency,” said Megan Ybarra, core organizer with Resistencia. “This project must not move forward until PSCAA directly addresses our concerns and shares plans on how it will protect the health and safety of immigrants.”
Others lifted up the climate and health impacts of the Tacoma LNG facility and linked Friday’s EIS release to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s EIS draft released on the same day for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline in Southern Oregon.
“Last Friday, a draft EIS from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was also released for the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline in southern Oregon. Jordan Cove LNG and Tacoma LNG both threaten the health and safety of residents throughout the Pacific Northwest, demonstrating the wide-reaching risks of fracked gas infrastructure,” said Stephanie Hillman, Co-Lead of the Power Past Fracked Gas Campaign and Sierra Club Campaign Representative. “To take action on climate change on the timeline that international experts advise, we cannot build new fossil fuel pipelines or terminals. Governors Kate Brown and Jay Inslee must speak out in opposition to these major new fossil fuel facilities to protect the wellbeing and livelihoods of all those living throughout the region.”
“Fracked gas projects like the Tacoma LNG facility deepen our climate crisis and pose serious risks to human health and safety through the entirety of the product cycle,” said Dr. Mark Vossler, a cardiologist and the President of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Health professionals across Washington stand with the Puyallup Tribe in opposing this facility and urge Governor Inslee to reject new fracked gas infrastructure.”
“We must transition our region to clean and renewable energy, not tie ourselves to more dangerous fracked gas projects,” says Joan Crooks, CEO of Washington Environmental Council/Washington Conservation Voters. “We stand in solidarity with the Puyallup Tribe and community members across the region in our opposition to this LNG proposal in Tacoma.”
“We are in a critical moment as a species and can’t let projects, especially fracked gas fossil fuel projects, be approved without taking a real look at all the possible impacts- both environmental and social,” said Stacy Oaks with 350 Seattle. “Not only should the clean air agency deny PSE this permit, there is need for more analysis of the project as a whole via a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, something that would need to be ordered by the Tacoma City Manager, Elizabeth Pauli, a request that has been falling on deaf ears for over 2 years. When local agencies fail to protect the community, that is precisely when a Governor should step in.”
“As Tacoma’s downwind neighbors, members of the Vashon Climate Action Group encourage the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to deny permits for the Tacoma LNG Facility,” said Kevin Jones in a statement. “Our primary concern: the FSEIS is based on unsupportable claims that British Columbia fracked gas wells, somehow, will emit less methane than fracked gas wells in the United States over the decades long lifetime of the facility.”
“The Air Agency’s refusal to use the best available science in their review of this fracked gas project is inexcusable. This facility poses a clear threat to public health and the climate and should be rejected,” said Sierra Club Organizer Victoria Leistman. “We continue to stand with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in opposition to this dangerous and unnecessary project, and we urge the Air Agency to reject its permit and put it to rest once and for all.”
Puget Sound Energy is trying to complete construction of its LNG facility in the Port of Tacoma and begin operations in 2019, producing around 500,000 gallons of liquid fuel daily from fracked gas and undermining years of work to clean up the Superfund site on Commencement Bay. The next step from PSCAA will be an initial permit determination expected within the next 6 weeks after which another period of public comment will open before any final permit decision is made. Tacoma-area residents and the Power Past Fracked Gas campaign are rallying in opposition to the project.