By PUYALLUP TRIBAL NEWS STAFF
The latest air study of the Tacoma LNG plant is so wrought with inaccuracies, gaps, and out-dated science that several environmental groups have joined the Puyallup Tribe in rebuking the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s work and process.
Puyallup Tribal Councilmembers Annette Bryan, David Bean, Anna Bean, and Tribal Member and Water Warrior Dakota Case joined forces to confront the out-dated science in the latest supplemental environmental impact statement released by the PSCAA in October. The Tribe testified as a group at the PSCAA’s marathon hearings held Tuesday, Oct. 30 at the Rialto Theater in Tacoma.
“The City of Tacoma and PSCAA have failed to consult with the Puyallup Tribe. They have allowed PSE to construct the LNG plant without the proper permits,” said Councilmember Annette Bryan, speaking for the Tribe. “Consultation with the Puyallup Tribe means you don’t build unless you consult and come to an agreement with the Tribe. Consultation is required by federal law to properly carry out the federal trust responsibility intended to secure our treaty-protected land and resources. Thus, the failure to properly consult with the Tribe is a violation of federal law.”
Bryan concluded her remarks to an outpouring of cheers from hundreds of LNG opponents who invoked their support for the Puyallup Nation and demanded PSCAA and the City of Tacoma consult with the Tribe. “This PSCAA study is nothing more than a false promise to the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and the citizens of Tacoma. It must be rejected and – at minimum – redone,” Bryan said.
Bryan also challenged PSE arguments that the LNG plant was a green-job generator, noting the plant will only provide a total of 18 permanent jobs, while the PTOI employed more than 3,200 employees with hundreds of ancillary jobs throughout the region.
Experts from Citizens for a Healthy Bay, the Sierra Club, and Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma echoed the Tribe’s leadership on the failed science modeling the true environmental impacts. Other respected environmental experts from the nonprofit Sightline Institute have also condemned the study as inaccurate. Earlier this month, the Washington Environmental Council joined the chorus of environmental experts rejecting the air study as flawed.
“This project is worse than the status quo,” said Melissa Malott, executive director for Citizens for a Healthy Bay. She noted the groups board voted unanimously to withdraw their support of the project when they reviewed the SEIS. “It’s dishonest as drafted and it hides the most important information,” she said. “The Puyallup Tribe of Indians was excluded from this project at a critical stage in the process. The City of Tacoma had a legal responsibility to meaningfully follow the Tribe in consultation in the early stages of the project.
We did an open records request of the City and found they did not have the records to show that they meaningfully consulted with the Tribe under the requirements of the Land Claims Settlement Act.”