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Many Critics of Tacoma LNG Project Expected at Hearing

Groups opposed to a Tacoma liquefied natural gas project say it's received permits based on flawed analyses. (Seattle City Council/Flickr)
Groups opposed to a Tacoma liquefied natural gas project say it's received permits based on flawed analyses. (Seattle City Council/Flickr)
August 26, 2019

TACOMA, Wash. – Critics of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Tacoma are hoping to topple the proposal at a public hearing this week.

Puget Sound Energy's 8 million gallon tank already is half-built on Tacoma's Tideflats and awaits one final air permit to continue construction.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says the facility will reduce pollutants by lowering ships' diesel use in exchange for natural gas.

But opponents maintain the agency's conclusions are based on outdated science, especially on methane's harmful impact on the environment.

Puyallup Tribal Council member Annette Bryan is concerned about the project's impact on local communities.

"This public hearing is really important because it allows us to look at all of the information in their draft notice of construction permit and to give them all the details that we think are flawed and let them analyze that," she states.

Two public hearing sessions are being held on Tuesday at Tacoma's Rialto Theater at 2:00 and 6:30 p.m.

Water Warriors from the Puyallup Tribe and other environmental and social justice groups will be marching before the first session.

Stephanie Hillman, co-lead of the Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition, says there are safety concerns about the project as well as potential health risks for the surrounding area.

In addition, she says the plant's 40-year life will undermine the state's climate goals.

"In the middle of a climate crisis when we should be looking for a way out of our use of fossil fuels,” she stresses, “we should not be looking at a facility and wanting to approve a facility that would lock us into decades more of bringing fracked gas into Washington."

While Puget Sound Energy's big, white tank already looms over Tacoma, Hillman says the plant's operation isn't a foregone conclusion.

"I truly think that, in the end, we could win and it's not unprecedented for facilities to be built and then never go into operation," she states.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA