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Tuesday’s LNG hearing to be met by march, rally

2 sessions seek public input on project permit

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Published: August 26, 2019, 4:48pm

TACOMA — Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas facility on the Tideflats faces a final public permit hearing Tuesday, and both sides once again are ready to make their case for and against the project.

The hearing, like the one held in October, is set to take place in two sessions: from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at Tacoma’s Rialto Theater, 310 S. Ninth St.

The two sessions will address Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s draft approval order for the LNG project’s facility construction permit.

“The objective of the hearing is to hear and record public comment for the project,” PSCAA said Aug. 20 in its hearing update. “Those interested in making oral comments will be asked to sign up on a first come, first served basis. Comments will be limited to two minutes each.”

Written comments also will be accepted at the hearing.

The agency in July said it had completed a review of the project’s Notice of Construction Application and had made “a preliminary determination that the proposal meets all the requirements of Agency Regulations I, II and III and should be approved.”

The facility would produce between 250,000 and 500,000 gallons a day of LNG. The LNG would be stored in an 8 million-gallon tank under construction on the Tideflats, and provide about 900,000 gallons of LNG each week to TOTE Maritime for its two Alaska ships.

TOTE Maritime recently made news with the announcement that it was moving its headquarters from Federal Way to Tacoma next year.

The LNG plant also would provide about 6 million to 8 million gallons of LNG for local customers during peak winter demand. Puget Sound Energy says the site will help boost the reliability of the fuel supply for Western Washington.

As part of its public outreach on the project, this summer PSE mailed promotional information about the project to local residents.

PSE told The News Tribune on Friday it had spent roughly $15,000 on the mailed booklets.

“None of those dollars came from customer rates,” the company said in response to questions Friday. “There has been a lot of misinformation about this project, so we felt it was important to inform and educate our customers about Tacoma LNG and its benefits.”

In the October PSCAA sessions, which dealt with the project’s draft supplemental environmental impact statement, (DSEIS) the project’s opponents outnumbered its supporters in testimony offered to PSCAA representatives.

This time, opponents are gearing up to not only be at the sessions but also to rally ahead of the first hearing in front of the theater, starting at 1 p.m.

The Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition, in a statement issued Friday, said: “Tacoma-area residents are calling on PSCAA to consider the flaws in their analysis, address the lack of consultation with the Puyallup Tribe, and deny this permit.”

Before the rally, a march also is planned starting at noon at Don Pugnetti Park at South 21st Street and Pacific Avenue downtown, according to an advisory sent Friday.

Opponents contend the clock is ticking on not just the project’s approval process, but the environment.

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