Puyallup Tribe Comments on Puget Sound Energy Liquefied Natural Gas Plant to Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
On September 5, 2019, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians submitted their public comments on the Puget Sound Energy (PSE) – Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant proposal and its associated facilities in a letter from Chairman David Z. Bean. (To read the full document, see the pdf link below.)
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
1904 Third Ave, Suite 105
Seattle, WA 98101
Re: Proposed Order of Approval 11386
Puget Sound Energy – Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant
Dear Mr. Munoz:
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians herby submits the the attached comments to the Proposed Order of Approval issued by Puget Sound Clean Air Agency for the above referenced proposal that was released for public comment on July 22, 2019.
The Puyallup Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe with its reservation located in Tacoma and surrounding communities in the State of Washington. The Puget Sound Energy – Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant (“the Tacoma LNG Plant”) proposal and its associated facilities are proposed to be constructed within and adjacent to the 1873 Survey Boundary for the Puyallup Tribe’s Reservation. In addition to other lands, the Tribe owns lands across two waterways from the proposed Tacoma LNG Plant. The lands owned by the Tribe are used as restoration sites providing critical and essential fish habitat, as cultural sites, and as marinas for both recreational and commercial boat traffic. Tribal members reside within miles of the facility and conduct usual and accustomed cultural activities, including fishing and shellfish harvesting, near the the facility in Commencement Bay.
The Tribe, through the Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854, has a treaty right to fish in the waters surrounding the Tacoma LNG Plant and waters that will be impacted by the development and use at the proposed project site. The impacts to the waters, shorelines, habitat, and surrounding shoreline properties and uses to the heart of the Tribe’s culture and livelihood with potential impacts to fish, other wildlife, and natural resources, as well as impacts to the health and welfare of Tribal members. As is secured in Article VI, cl.2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Treaty “shall be supreme Law of the Land.” As affirmed by U.S. v Washington , the rights arising from the Medicine Creek Treaty cannot be diminished or interfered with absent authority from Congress.
While the Tribe appreciates the work performed by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (“the Agency”), the proposed order, and the process leading up to the order, is a profound disappointment. The Agency has continued to fail to recognize its obligation to consult with the Puyallup Tribe, and once again the Tribe requests government to government consultation. This facility is proposed on the 1873 Survey Area, and on what were once the ancestral lands of the Tribe. The authority delegated to the Agency from the Clean Air Act includes the Clean Air Act’s obligations to consult with Tribes. To date, no such consultation has occurred.
Furthermore, the Proposed Order, and the analysis upon which it is based, are fatally flawed as detailed in the attached comments. The Tacoma LNG Plant, as analyzed by the Agency, is fundamentally and significantly different from the project analyzed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the City of Tacoma. The Agency has failed to appropriately characterize and analyze the hazardous air pollutants this facility will emit. A result of this failure is that conclusions that place this facility in the minor source category are tenuous at best, and a more robust analysis must be performed for this facility as a major source for one or more pollutants. Also glaringly absent is any analysis as to the impacts that would occur from accidental releases ranging from minor to moderate leaks to the catastrophic explosive leak. All such such scenarios are possible, yet have not been addressed in the Agency’s analysis.
The Agency likewise has perpetuated the glaring omission of any meaningful environmental justice review or human health impact analysis. This facility will have a disparate impact on the Tribal community and other minority communities in the immediate vicinity. The Tribe once again demands that the agency conduct these reviews prior to finalizing any permit issuance.
The Tribe requests the government to government consultation to review comments attached and discuss findings through its expert Dr. Sahu. After such review, the Tribe is confident the Agency will proceed with the required analysis and supplemental environmental review required for this facility. The Tribe is confident that the Agency will, once the full analysis is completed, find this facility presents significant environmental and health risks that warrant reconsideration of its siting in the Tacoma Tideflats.
Please contact our legal counsel, Lisa A.H. Anderson (253)573-7852, to schedule the government to government consultation. The Tribe reserves its rights to present additional comments throughout the review process.
David Z. Bean, Chairman
Puyallup Tribal Council
Read full comments in the PDF document here.