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TO: Governor Jay Inslee, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 10, Washington State Attorney General, Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE), Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA)
We stand with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in their request for your IMMEDIATE ACTION to stop all construction on the proposed Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Tacoma LNG project.
Besides creating an immediate and unreasonable danger to thousands of Pierce County residents within one (1) mile of the massive 8-million-gallon storage tank, PSE’s proposed 8 million gallon LNG facility would lock citizens into as many as 50 years of burning fracked gas and accelerating climate change, while exposing our populationWashington residents to carcinogens used in the fracking and cryogenic processand explosion dangers. This 50 -year The project will require a steady supply of fracked gas, meaning that future fracked gas wells will be built off-site in communities that are not even identified as part of the project. ItThe PSE LNG project is a disastrous project in every aspect, except large profits to the project proponents. Key process failures:
As the world rallies behind the Paris Climate Change Accord that the current President has rejected, Tacoma seeks to become the fossil fuel dumping point for the West Coast. The people of Tacoma, Fife, the Puyallup Tribe and Pierce County reject that premise. We do not wish to be the common denominator for fossil fuels, volatile gas storage, carcinogens and more pollution. Our families and our children deserve better.
Thus, we Petition our government for help against the grave environmental and social danger that the pending PSE LNG plant presents.
On a legal front, we would ask that the State of Washington review the procedures used thus far, the EIS that was done, the many requests for supplemental EIS’ that have been made, and the lawsuits that have been filed and will be filed for the failings that have thus far occurred, including:
1. Illicit Lead Agency Transfer. At the request of PSE, WDOE transferred lead agency review status to the City of Tacoma because the City of Tacoma stood to make millions of dollars per year (See EIS) from the siting and operations of this facility in the Port of Tacoma. per request of PSE. However, WDOE also did not obtain lead agency transfer approval from the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, a Sovereign Nation, in breach of the existing Treaty.
2. Insufficient EIS. Despite the conflict of interest and the underwhelming resources, the City of Tacoma accepted the appointment and conducted an inadequate EIS that did not meet legal standards for environmental consideration/protection, human safety and that also failed to consider any alternatives. The City’s response? That it did not need to consider such things as greenhouse gas emissions, or alternatives sitings, or any other alternatives (such as a 2.5 million-gallon tank instead of an 8 million gallon one) than what was being proposed by PSE because PSE would simply not move forward with the project. And as for safety, the City and its LNG industry “experts” that helped prepare the EIS chose not to evaluate a “material breach” of the facility and the extensive and grave danger that it posed to the surrounding community because it believed the chances to be too remote. But it is grave danger to the community and there is potential for a material breach and catastrophic consequences. Why are we hiding it and not protecting the people?
3. Environmental Toxins and Greenhouse Gases. The project is proposed to be sited on and near multiple Superfund sites, putting the community and Salish Sea at risk of exposure to deadly toxins. Communities where future fracking wells are placed will be exposed to carcinogenic toxins from fracking by-products. Fracking wells are also linked to increased earthquake activity. The project will contribute to dangerous greenhouse gases directly related to climate change catastrophe.
4. Illegal Commercial Subsidy. LNG prices have fallen from $15 per 1,000 cubic feet to $5 since the project was proposed. PSE can still make a profit on this disastrous project because the UTC is allowing them to pass PSE ratepayers will be paying 43% of the estimated capital costs ($133 million of $300 million) onto PSE ratepayers, yet the ratepayers are slated to receive only 7% of the usage. , yet slated to receive only 7% of the usage. Without the ratepayer subsidy, the project is not economically feasible for PSE.PSE will make a profit on a project that is not financially feasible and the public will be saddled with an environmental disaster. The ratepayers will not benefit from this alleged “peak shaving” facility for at least 25 years if ever, since there is plenty of existing natural gas supply available for the peak 5 days a year. Of course, if this facility were to be built, it would cause a run on natural gas thereby necessitating a greater supply. But asking ratepayers to pay more for their natural gas because PSE is engaging in a commercial enterprise for profit is not fair to the ratepayers. And, the EIS appears to state that only 7% of the 8 million gallon LNG tank will be available at any time for ratepayers, while PSE sells the remainder on an unregulated market without a credit back to the ratepayers for the gas they subsidized.
We are standing on the edge of global environmental catastrophe. Historic forest fires have burned hundreds of thousands of acres all over the west, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada. Massive climate change disasters are destroying cities and communities across the globe. Three hurricanes have blasted the Caribbean, and two Earthquakes caused major damage to Mexico City. We are all stunned at the intensity, the frequency, and the devastation of these disasters. And locally, not only is oOur Salish Sea is suffering from decades of poisons and our keystone salmon and Orca families are endangered and pushed to the brink of extinction, but we are ripe for a major earthquake of our own.
The Indigenous Tribes and Nations have been following centuries old teachings for the ways to respect and nourish this land. They have been stewards for thousands of years and are inviting us to listen and heed their words for the best ways forward in caring for all the life here. We must learn to protect and heal our planet and we must do it NOW. We cannot allow toxic, dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Tacoma LNG facilityplant to be rammed through in violation of Indigenous sovereignty, treaty rights, and wisdom, and in violation of our environmental laws.
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has appealed the federal and state permits for the proposed PSE Tacoma LNG Plant facility and on August 30, 2017, the Tribe wrote letters to you and your agencies requesting you take immediate Enforcement Action. We stand with the Puyallup Tribe in their urgent request to you. We need your intervention and to protect our health and safety, our environment, and the Salish Sea from this dangerous project. We ask that you and your agencies take the following actions:
1. Immediately issue a Stop Work order for all construction work on the PSE LNG plant facility and pipelines, in-water, in shoreline, and landward.
2. Revoke and then re-evaluate the Clean Water Act (CWA) permit, the WDOE Coastal Zone Management (CZM) concurrence, and the City of Tacoma Shoreline approval.
3. Deny issuance of a PSCAA NOC, pending re-evaluation of the above permits.
4. Conduct a legal review of the SEPA process for conflict of interest, failure to consult, failure to adequately identify potential impacts of the project, and failure to address all components of the project. Require the NEPA environmental review process be redone with a new lead agency that is free of conflict of interest.
The Puyallup Tribe letter of August 30 details multiple permit violations and massive deficiencies in the project permitting process. The immediate violation is simple: PSE has been conducting in-water work for the proposed Tacoma LNG Plant project without meeting the Conditions required for the CWA permit and CZM. Obtaining Notice of Construction (NOC) permits from Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) is a required condition for these two permits. This is a direct violation of the CWA permit and the CZM concurrence and renders the permits invalid.
The review process for the project is marked by conflict of interests, failure to consult with the Puyallup Tribe, failure to seek meaningful public input, and huge failures to quantify the impacts of the project. In addition, the project has changed significantly since the EIS was written. Citizens requested a Supplemental EIS. Some of these requests were not answered for over a year. These are just a few of the worst deficiencies and failure of the EIS process.
We need to retire fossil fuel projects, not build new ones. We need to replace them with sustainable alternative energy projects. Under great public pressure from Indigenous nations and local communities, investors have abandoned the proposed Coos Bay LNG project and the BC LNG project. The proposed Kalama methanol refinery was just denied approvals based on the failure of the EIS to address greenhouse gases. These were bad projects, destructive to the environment and the future of the planet. The proposed Tacoma LNG project is the same and we cannot allow it to be built.
“Yehow” is a Coastal Salish word translated to English meaning “that which can only be done together”. We can recover our environment and our Salish Sea only if we do it together. We need your help as a leader and environmental steward.
We ask you to issue a Stop Work order on the PSE LNG facility, and revokescind and then re-evaluate all issued permits and approvals on behalf of the request of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, the citizens of Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest, and the animals and fish of the Salish Sea.
Conditional Permits to Be Revoked and Reviewed:
US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Permit No. NWS-2014-1128-WRD
Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) Coastal Zone Consistency Determination
City of Tacoma Shoreline Application No. SHR2015-40000246123
PSCAA Registration No. 3022; NOC Application No. 11386
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