FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, November 22nd, 2021
Jan Hasselman, Senior Attorney, Earthjustice, 206-629-8752, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zachary DeWolf, Communications Director, Washington Environmental Council
TACOMA, WA — Today, the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) ruled that Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) air permits, issued by Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA), given to the Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility were adequate, in spite of misleading and inaccurate information used to evaluate the project. This is a disappointing decision for the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and community organizations, represented by Earthjustice, that had challenged PSE’s air permits for the facility, presenting information that PSCAA issued the permits based on flawed and inadequate environmental analysis that dramatically underestimates the climate impacts of the project. They had requested the Board require PSCAA to conduct a new environmental analysis and permitting process based on best available science and an accurate assessment of the facility’s climate impacts.
The Puyallup Tribal Council shared this statement: “We are pleased that the board required detailed monitoring of certain emissions, and our legal and technical teams are evaluating what that means for future operations. However, we are profoundly disappointed the board upheld the remainder of the permit. We expect the decision will embolden companies that start projects that feed climate change and put vulnerable communities at risk.”
Jaimini Parekh, Earthjustice Northwest attorney representing the environmental organizations that appealed PSCAA’s permits, said: “Today, the PCHB put Washington State on a path toward catastrophic global climate change by blessing the build out of fossil fuel infrastructure that will keep the Puget Sound shipping industry addicted to fracked gas for decades to come. ”
Todd Hay, President of Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma, said: “Today the PCHB failed the citizens of Washington state to act as a safeguard against faulty environmental analysis. By PSCAA’s own report and admission, this LNG facility will be more harmful for climate change than doing nothing, yet the ruling today allows it to operate. It literally is adding more fuel to the wildfires and extreme temperatures that are burning up our region. How can this possibly be allowed?”
Barb Church, longtime resident and member of the social justice organization The Conversation shared her reflections: “First, I’d like to acknowledge that we are on the occupied, ancestral lands of the Puyallup Tribe. We are extremely disappointed with the court’s decision. Puget Sound Energy & PSCAA were able to manipulate results by using 2007 data and ignoring the health and safety risks for local residents. This decision fits into a century’s old pattern of systemic racism that has used legal and illegal means to target and marginalize the Puyallup Tribe’s culture and their sovereign Treaty Rights and BIPOC communities.”
Mark Vossler, MD, WPSR. As health care professionals, we are appalled with the decision by the PCHB to allow the Tacoma LNG facility. Whether we are talking about local risks from explosions, fires, and toxic chemicals in the water and air, or talking about the global climate crisis made worse from upstream fracking and methane leaks, we simply cannot afford to continue our use of fracked gas.
Sr. Jessica Zimmerle, Program & Outreach Director of Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light, said: “People of faith have been in a prayerful stance of solidarity supporting the Puyallup Tribe and co-litigants’ appeal of PSE’s immoral project. We are incredibly disappointed that the PCHB failed to make the right decision to require further review of this dirty and dangerous fracked gas facility.”
Background: During the trial this past April, the Puyallup Tribe and community groups brought forward a number of expert witnesses who highlighted deep flaws in the environmental review for the PSE LNG project, which resulted in the inaccurate evaluation that this facility would be a net improvement to greenhouse gas emissions. The project would, in fact, lock in decades of increased use of fracked gas and hinder a shift to clean energy alternatives. Experts also explained how changes in the project design raised serious safety concerns, which were ignored by regulators.
The Tacoma LNG refining facility, located on the Tacoma Tideflats on the ancestral territory of the Puyallup Tribe, is capable of refining and storing 8 million gallons of LNG. The project has faced years of fierce opposition from the the Puyallup Tribe and the local community who cite climate, health, and safety concerns from the facility as well as permitting agencies’ failure to consult with the Puyallup Tribe. They also cite PSE’s willful misrepresentation of the facility as clean energy and illegal construction of the facility prior to receiving proper permits.
The Puyallup Tribe and community groups have up to 30 days to file an appeal of this decision by the PCHB.
Power Past Fracked Gas is a coalition of Pacific Northwest health, environmental, faith, and community groups that believe in the power of clean energy and the value of clean water. We oppose new fracked gas infrastructure that locks our region into decades of continued reliance on dirty energy and harmful projects. We support and build on the work of ally coalitions Power Past Coal and Stand Up to Oil.
350 Deschutes / 350 Eastside / 350 Eugene / 350 PDX / 350 Seattle / 350 Tacoma / 350 Salem, OR / Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma / Bark / Beyond Toxics / Cascadia Wildlands / Cedar Action / Center for Sustainable Economy / Citizens for Renewables / Columbia Riverkeeper / Earth Ministry / Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology (FUSEE) / Food and Water Watch / La Resistencia / Oregon League of Conservation Voters / Oregon Chapter, Sierra Club / Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility / Native Daily Network / Protectors for Salish Sea / Puuyallup Water Warriors / REDefine Tacoma / Rogue Climate / Rogue Riverkeeper / Signal Fire Arts / Stand.earth / Stop Fracked Gas PDX / The Conversation / Vashon Climate Action Group / Washington State Chapter, Sierra Club / Washington Environmental Council / Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility