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Protesters rally at public hearing on Tacoma LNG project

In downtown Tacoma on Tuesday afternoon, hundreds rallied in opposition to Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility project on the Tacoma Tideflats. The proposed facility would be used to liquify, store, and distribute LNG. 

The project has faced opposition, led by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, since it first began over concerns about its environmental impacts on the area. 

Members of the Puyallup Tribe and the community rally before the public hearing.

Tuesday’s rally took place prior to a public comment hearing hosted by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) at the Rialto Theater. On Monday, the Puyallup Tribe endorsed the rally, which included representatives from a variety of groups including Water Warriors, 350 Tacoma, Power Past Fracked Gas, Sierra Club, Native Daily Network, the Washington Environmental Council, Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma, and others. 

Advocates at the rally urged attendees to speak at the hearing, asking them to call on PSCAA to reject the permits for the LNG facility. 

Puyallup Tribal Council Chairman David Bean was the first to speak at the public hearing. 

“I’m here to tell you on behalf of the 25,000 Native Americans that live in this area, that the Tacoma LNG facility is a bad idea with broad public opposition…These are our very lives and homes at risk,” said Bean. “We must think of how we can make our community better for future generations, and not how we can further pollute our community. Instead of building this facility, let’s clean up the tideflats and invest in 21st century jobs. For these reasons, for your children, for our children, for water to drink and air to breathe, the agency must do what is right and deny the permit.” 

Hundreds gather for the public comment hearing inside the Rialto Theater

Bean says that the facility is opposed by 18 tribes across Washington, the Tacoma Human Rights Commission, dozens of environmental groups, and dozens of social justice groups. He also says that the Puyallup Tribe was not consulted during the planning of the LNG facility. 

“The agency’s failure to engage the Tribe in meaningful consultation is an insult to our rights and a threat to the entire community,” Chairman Bean said in a press release. “We call on community members to stand with us by submitting comments to PSCAA asking for the Agency to deny the construction permit for Tacoma LNG.”

Other speakers in opposition discussed the threat of potential LNG leaks on wildlife and water quality, as well as the importance of shifting away from fossil fuels to combat climate change. 

“LNG leaks pose serious risks to our community… it is harmful to the global climate and to the Salish Sea. As Governor Inslee has pointed out, we do not have the luxury of time. We cannot build new fossil fuel infrastructure to operate for 30-50 more years,” said one speaker. 

At the end of July, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency “made a preliminary determination” approving the project, and opened up public comment through September 9. This air permit is considered to be one of the final milestone permits for the facility. 

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