Puyallup Tribe Rejects Preliminary Determination to Issue Permits to Tacoma LNG

The Puyallup Tribal Council expressed disappointment Monday by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s preliminary determination to issue permits to the liquefied natural gas proposal in Tacoma. The governmental reviews of this project have been badly flawed and have failed to engage the Tribe in consultation as they are legally required to do.

“Puget Sound Energy’s fracked gas project is an insult to the Puyallup Tribe and a threat to the global environment,” said Chairman David Z. Bean, speaking for the Council. “We continue to oppose the project, which is sited on our ancestral homeland. We call on Governor Jay Inslee to initiate a new review of the project that properly addresses its impacts.”

Council reiterated points it made after PSCAA issued its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement earlier this year:

Today’s Preliminary Determination does not address the absence of legally-required consultation with the Tribe. From the beginning, the Puyallup Tribe has been systematically ignored by PSE and the government agencies responsible for reviewing the project, in blatant violation of their legal obligations. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency was delegated its authority from the US Clean Air Act and from Washington State’s authority under that Act. The obligation to consult with the Tribe held by both the federal government and the State of Washington was delegated to the Clean Air Agency, yet it did not conduct meaningful consultation with the Tribe.

Today’s Preliminary Determination does not address the project’s many safety risks. PSE’s fracked gas LNG facility is clearly unsafe, for both the people of Tacoma and the global climate. PSE fought the release of the safety, fire, and siting studies until a year or more after the final EIS was issued, which was well after comments were allowed on the analysis. The Tribe had provided permitting authorities with safety concerns identified by an expert, but received no response from the State or City.

Today’s Preliminary Determination does not address any of the substantial changes made to the project after it was subjected to environmental review. The Puyallup Tribe has documented no fewer than seven major alterations to the project since it was reviewed by government agencies, changes that have happened without our review, input, or agreement. These changes should be addressed in a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement as required under the law by the City of Tacoma or the State of Washington or both.

The Preliminary Determination published today wrongly assumes that the project would not be harmful, based on outdated assumptions and flawed methodology—errors that were clearly pointed out during the public comment period of PSCAA’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. It is widely understood that fracked gas infrastructure like Tacoma LNG is far more harmful than previously thought because climate-damaging methane leaks are so prevalent and because fracking drives so much gas production today.

Council encouraged people likewise concerned by the determination to attend PSCAA’s public hearing from 2 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Rialto Theater in Tacoma on Aug. 27.

About the Puyallup Tribe of Indians
The Puyallup People have lived along the shores of what is now called Puget Sound for thousands of years. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is a sovereign nation of more than 5,000 members and one of the largest employers in Pierce County. It serves its people and neighbors with generosity and is committed to building a sustainable way of life for future generations. Learn more about the Puyallup Tribe.

About the Puyallup Tribal Council
The Puyallup Tribal Council is the elected governing body of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. The council consists of Chairman David Z. Bean, Vice Chairman Bill Sterud, Sylvia Miller, Annette Bryan, Tim Reynon, James Rideout and Georgianna Bean.