It's time for the City of Tacoma to get questions answered on LNG
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will soon issue their final take on the climate impacts of the proposed LNG plant. This report, the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, is expected in March and we hope it will bring to light how harmful the LNG plant will be for our climate.
In addition to the review of climate impacts of the project, we are concerned about how much the scope of the project has changed since it was initially reviewed and given a thumbs up by the City of Tacoma back in 2015. Since that initial review, the project has changed in ways that will significantly affect the environment.
- In the 2015 report, only two ships would be fueled up at the LNG facility, but we learned in 2018 that PSE is planning to fuel up considerably more than two ships. This additional marine traffic will impact underwater noise, Tribal Treaty fishing rights, marine life, and shipping operations; but we don't know the significance of these impacts until they are thoroughly reviewed.
- The 2015 report looked at moving LNG from ship-to-ship in the Hylebos waterway - this is called bunkering. In contrast, the 2018 report showed that this bunkering would actually occur in the Blair waterway, and no work would be done in the Hylebos. Again, we don't know what the environmental impacts of this operational change are because they've never been analyzed.
- One important part of the 2015 report was the call for restoration activities that would offset the negative impacts from construction in the Hylebos. Now that all the proposed work in the Hylebos is off the table, restoration will be needed in the Blair - but there has been no review of what these offsets could be. The impacts of this change need to be analyzed.
- We learned from the 2018 report that LNG will be used for residential heating during times of high demand for only 10 years, after which all LNG will go to fueling ships. The 2015 report stated that residential heating was a "long-term need". What changed? What are the impacts of this change?
This project has changed substantially in the last four years, and those changes haven't been reviewed. We stand with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in insisting these changes be properly vetted. Allowing this project to proceed without understanding the impacts of the changes is irresponsible when our orcas and salmon are on the brink of extinction and will be significantly impacted by this project.
Fortunately, the City of Tacoma is in a position to get the answers. They have the authority to ask for an additional review that addresses these changes to the LNG project. This additional review would be the second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or SEIS.
That’s why we’re asking you to reach out to City Council, and ask them to be better advocates for the health of our community and our environment by requiring a second SEIS that will analyze the impacts of the changes to this project.
We put together this letter you can easily send to Council. You can edit the text of the letter, add your own insights and personal touches.
Now is the time for the City of Tacoma to be a leader by taking this project into their own hands, and completing a new SEIS that analyzes the impacts of these changes. Please, submit your letter today.