FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 9, 2021
Zachary DeWolf, Communications Director, Washington Environmental Council
WHAT: The Puyallup Tribe of Indians and five environmental organizations, represented by Earthjustice, challenge Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) permits for the Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in a hearing before the Pollution Control Hearings Board. The appeal is attempting to invalidate PSE’s air permits issued by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA), on the grounds that they were issued based on flawed and inadequate analysis that dramatically underestimated the climate impacts of the project. If advocates are successful in their appeal, PSCAA would be required to conduct a new environmental analysis and permitting process in order for PSE to operate the facility.
WHEN: April 12-23, 2021
WHERE: Via Zoom: https://tinyurl.com/pseontrial passcode: 752562
WHO: Puyallup Tribe of Indians, EarthJustice, Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma, Washington Environmental Council, Sierra Club, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Stand.Earth.
WHY: 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 with the facility as well as permitting agencies’ failure to consult with the Puyallup Tribe and PSE’s willful misrepresentation of the facility as clean energy and illegal construction of the facility prior to receiving proper permits. Although the facility is most constructed illegally, it is not yet operational.
“Tacoma LNG is in a densely populated area, but no authority has looked at the consequences of a catastrophic incident,” said Bill Sterud, chairman of the Puyallup Tribal Council. “That is unfair and dangerous.”
In January, 2021, the Washington Attorney General filed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit challenging PSE’s LNG facility, stating that “by obscuring the Project’s actual climate impact and omitting the speculative nature of its assumptions, the FSEIS failed in its primary purpose under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).”
“The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s claim that the Tacoma LNG project would benefit the climate is like a chainsmoker claiming that smoking one less cigarette benefits their health. It’s blatantly false,” said Jaimini Parekh, attorney of record with Earthjustice. “This project puts us on the pathway for catastrophic global warming for the next four decades and beyond.”
Tacoma LNG would store and requires transport of extremely volatile materials by pipeline, ship, and truck, is located immediately adjacent to the Puyallup Reservation, the residential neighborhood of Northeast Tacoma, a immigration detention center holding up to 1,575, and several other high-risk facilities including the US Oil Refinery and toxic superfund sites in the Port. In addition to these immediate health and safety concerns, community organizations and the Puyallup Tribe cite that the project essentially functions as a massive fracked gas storage facility, locking in major new fossil fuel infrastructure that undermines Washington’s ability to meet its climate goals.
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.
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