Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

[TACOMA, WA] — Today, in response to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s decision this afternoon to grant a permit for the Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Tacoma LNG facility, Washington communities and advocates reiterated their continued opposition to the fracked gas project, and expect to file an immediate appeal.

This summer, hundreds of Tacoma-area residents, along with members of the Puyallup Tribe and other Indigenous peoples, attended a public hearing and thousands more submitted public comments urging PSCAA to deny the permit to PSE. Commenters cited concerns about the agency’s deeply flawed climate analysis and lack of consultation with the Puyallup Tribe. Governor Jay Inslee also announced his opposition to the project in May. 

If completed, the fracked gas facility would lock in decades of dependence on fossil fuels at the very time that the climate crisis demands a rapid shift in the opposite direction, as well as threaten the health and safety of the Puyallup people, whose reservation is directly adjacent to the site of the proposed 8 million-gallon gas plant and whose Medicine Creek Treaty rights would be violated by the project. 

“Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s approval of this fracked gas facility is completely unacceptable,” said Power Past Fracked Gas coalition Co-Director and Sierra Club campaign representative Stephanie Hillman. “Communities in Tacoma and across the state oppose this project because it represents a clear danger to our lands, water, air, and community health. We will continue to fight to ensure that this dirty, dangerous fracked gas plant is never completed.”

“PSCAA’s decision is very disappointing. The analysis upon which this decision was made is fundamentally flawed, and it reflects a continued failure of responsibility by our local agencies on this issue. It continues the narrative that business interests take priority over those of the citizens” said Todd Hay, President of Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma. “We will continue to fight this at every stage of the project.”

“The approval of this project is a current example of systemic racism and how throughout our country’s history, big business and the fossil fuel industry has and continues to marginalize indigenous communities by ignoring their sovereign rights and diminishing their cultural ways of living,” said Barbara Church of The Conversation.

“We are dismayed at the Clean Air Agency’s decision to approve the notice of construction permit for PSE LNG. Despite lacking this permit, PSE already went ahead and built the tank, confident that PSCAA would do their bidding. The conclusions by the air agency are scientifically wrong, rely on old data, entirely ignore the public and set a terrible precedent for the state of Washington” said Claudia Riedener, co-founder of Redefine Tacoma. “We are deeply disturbed that PSCAA refused proper consultation with the Puyallup Tribe, on whose ancestral and treaty protected estuary this horrendous and dangerous fossil fuel facility has been placed. We have lost all confidence in this public agency.”

“We are disappointed PSCAA continues to ignore the climate impacts this project will have in the next few decades,” said Melissa Malott, Executive Director of Citizens for a Healthy Bay. “The fact is that this project will be worse for our climate than maintaining the status quo. It will increase climate pollution at the time it is most important we address these emissions if we want to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. Advancing this project at a time when we should be drastically reducing our investments in dirty fossil fuel projects is irresponsible and dangerous.”

“I’m disappointed to have read PSCAA’s Final Decision to issue the LNG Air permit,” said Anna Bean, a Puyallup Water Warrior. “I also am not surprised as it was clear during the hearings that our concerns were falling on deaf ears. On a positive note in their statement they do mention water quality impacts that are out of their realm. Which leaves us once again where Councilwoman Annette Bryan has tirelessly asked. Who’s responsible and who has the authority when all have passed the buck. This fight is not over.”

“This is an act of war on Mother Earth,” said Dakota Case, a Puyallup Water Warrior and tribal member. “They have signed Tacoma up for fifty years of toxic pollution without asking the question–do you want a facility this big built in the middle of the bowl of the Puyallup Valley to the citizens of Tacoma. This fight is not over.”

“As indigenous protectors of our Mother Earth Provider we have a lifetime understanding that we will speak and fight for the well being of her survival,” said Patricia Gonzales of the Puyallup Water Warriors. “While she is screaming at us we continue to rapidly suck the life out of her without remorse! Her heart is on fire! She is feverish and weak. The medicine she needs is humanity! We stand up as warriors to say no more! We are done talking. We are done asking. The civil servants who had a hand in this destructive path will go down in history as the politicians who sold us out of the last chance. It’s time for all nations to unite!”

“The permission given to Puget Sound Energy by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency for Tacoma LNG facility shows the lack of accountability the agency is operating under,” said Maru Mora Villalpando, co-founder of La Resistencia. “Our group testified against it alongside hundreds of other people, bringing the voice of the Tacoma residents PSE wants to forget about: over one thousand people detained at the Northwest ICE Processing Center. Those people will be in the first zone of disaster in case the LNG plant explodes. PSCAA has given priority to a corporation and set aside the will of the people in Tacoma, including those detained forcefully by Immigration Custom Enforcement. As people detained continue fighting for the liberation, we will continue supporting the efforts to stop the LNG plant. La lucha sigue! The struggle continues!”

We are deeply concerned that Washington’s clean air agency has approved a fracked gas facility without emergency measures in place to protect Tacoma’s most vulnerable community members, those caged in the Northwest Detention Center,” said Resistencia organizer Megan Ybarra. “The state’s largest immigration prison already suffers from a lack of oversight as a privately owned and operated facility, which will be compounded by the construction of the LNG plant.”

“Just as PSCAA is about to demonstrate that it will rubber stamp whatever the fossil fuel industry wants, ignoring best available science, the International Maritime Organization is in the process of discounting LNG as a maritime fuel, citing the exact same arguments that our community has been making for years,” said Daniel Villa, a volunteer with 350 Tacoma.

“PSCAA has failed to consider the most accurate science on this dirty fossil fuel terminal, which threatens public health and our state’s climate progress,” said Dr. Mark Vossler, a cardiologist and President of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Health professionals stand alongside the Puyallup Tribe and we will continue to pursue all avenues available to prevent Puget Sound Energy’s dangerous project from moving forward.” 

“The religious community sees PSCAA’s approval of this permit as a moral failing, especially since the agency did not properly consult with the Puyallup Tribe,” said LeeAnne Beres, Executive Director of Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light. “People of faith will stand with the Tribe on the side of justice and continue to work to prevent this fracked gas facility from going online.”

“We join with the larger community of civic and environmental groups in expressing our outrage at the reckless and irresponsible action of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in granting this permit, said Rob Briggs of Vashon Climate Action Group. “We submitted statements directly to the PSCAA board members pointing out that their environmental impact statement contained materially false statements and numerous errors, any one of which, if corrected, would show that the PSE’s Tacoma LNG plant will cause unacceptable damage to the climate. We are looking forward to a more favorable outcome in the courts.”

“This is a deeply disappointing decision from a vital local agency. The climate crisis demands that we stop investing in fossil fuels and that includes new fracked gas projects,” said Joan Crooks, CEO of Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters. “PSE’s dirty Tacoma LNG project has no place in Washington’s clean energy future and we will continue to stand with the Puyallup Tribe and communities across our region to defend our climate, health, and safety.”

“This controversial decision shows just how much PSCAA and the other permitting agencies so far involved in this project review have failed to protect the public interest regarding health, safety, and environmental stewardship, and utterly failed to prioritize our youth and future generations simply having a livable planet. We call on Gov Inslee and the Dept of Ecology to make sure this project is given the real impact assessments it deserves.” said Stacy Oaks, an organizer with 350 Seattle.

“We will continue to stand up for the rights of the first peoples of these lands and will be steadfast in our defense of the tribes constitutionally protected treaty rights,” read a statement from Native Daily Network. “Those sacred rights have been ignored and violated at every turn, despite passionate pleas from concerned tribal members and allies. We will continue to stand proud as part of a broad and far reaching coalition.”

###

Contact

ADVISORY – PRESS CONFERENCE:
WHEN: 11:00 AM, Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
WHERE: 350 Tacoma (311 Puyallup Ave, Tacoma, WA 98421)
WHO: Facilitated by the Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition & Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. Speakers are confirmed from La Resistencia, Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma, Citizens for a Healthy Bay, and the Water Warrior Movement. Additional speakers will be added.

Power Past Fracked Gas is a growing coalition of Pacific Northwest health, environmental, faith, and community groups that believe in the power of clean energy and the value of clean water. We oppose new fracked gas infrastructure that locks our region into decades of continued reliance on dirty energy and harmful projects.

CLICK HERE for the Puyallup Tribe’s statement in response to today’s PSCAA decision on Tacoma LNG.