Opposition growing as Puyallups are joined by tribes around Washington, environmental, and social justice groups

By PUYALLUP TRIBAL NEWS STAFF

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency released its final review of the fracked gas Tacoma LNG project Friday afternoon March 29.  The Agency determined that the project would not have a significant environmental impact, in spite of the fact that it would store 8 million tons of liquefied natural gas on a site in the Tideflats between the Hylebos and Blair waterways.

In a press statement issued that same day, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians responded to the review, calling the findings “flawed” and pointing out that none of the governments responsible for analyzing the project’s impacts and issuing permits have properly consulted with the Tribe, a clear violation of their legal responsibilities. 

Environmental groups criticized the review too. Fourteen organizations issued a public statement calling attention to the project’s risks to health, safety, human rights, and the environment. 

Stephanie Hillman, Co-Lead of the Power Past Fracked Gas Campaign said,“To take action on climate change on the timeline that international experts advise, we cannot build new fossil fuel pipelines or terminals. Jay Inslee must speak out in opposition to these major new fossil fuel facilities to protect the wellbeing and livelihoods of all those living throughout the region.”

The Puyallup Tribe is determined to continue opposing the project on the grounds that it is sited on the tribe’s traditional homeland and that it a direct threat to tribal members and their way of life. 

In a press release, Chairman Bill Sterud said, “Today, we call on Governor Inslee and the Washington Department of Ecology to initiate a supplemental review. We demand a legitimate review that honors the Tribe’s legal rights to consultation, that evaluates the many changes to the project, and that fairly weighs the science of methane leaks from fracked gas infrastructure.” 

Opposition to the project appears to be growing. On April 9, leaders of faith, immigrant, and social justice groups issued a strongly-worded statement that the Tacoma LNG project would violate human rights in the region. 

LeeAnne Beres, Executive Director of Earth Ministry said, “Our organizations see this as a moral issue of intersectional justice and stand with the Puyallup Tribe in asking that the City of Tacoma complete a supplemental EIS on the safety risks of this dangerous fossil fuel project.”

The Governor’s Office has not yet responded to the many tribes, organizations, and state residents who oppose Tacoma LNG. Governor Inslee is campaigning for President on a platform of addressing climate change and resisting fossil fuels, but remains to be seen whether he can square his campaign rhetoric with the fracked gas project in his home state.