Puget Sound Energy is planning a public forum concerning its planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) plan as pressure and concerns continue to rise in the community and in City Hall.
Details about the forum are still in the works and come after Tacoma Councilmembers Ryan Mello and Victoria Woodards joined the call for PSE to address critics of the proposed 8 million gallon plant.
The councilmembers sent PSE President and CEO Kimberly Harris a formal letter last week outlining their concerns and their call for more community dialogue about the proposed LNG facility.
“There are serious, valid concerns regarding the safety of this plant in the currently proposed location. Our community has every right to fully understand the benefits and the risk of the project in order to make an informed decision and to better inform ourselves about the impacts of a project, that up until this point, have been unclear and ambiguous at best,” according to the letter. “Furthermore, to this point, Puget Sound Energy blocked that information from being released. … We also have serious concerns about how the public has been engaged, notified and informed up to this point. There seems to be a lot of misinformation in the community, and we concur with the mayor’s recent comments that PSE is spending so much time in court blocking information about safety, ‘it doesn’t look good.’”
The councilmembers then ask for PSE to organize some sort of public, expert-based forum to address the purpose of the project, the environmental benefits it would provide the area, and answer concerns of the plant and its operations, particularly any mitigation plans to address safety and security concerns as well as the siting of the plant on the tideflats.
“The lack of transparency from PSE in this process is counter to many of the conditions we laid out in our initial support of this project several years ago,” they wrote. “We specifically articulated the expectation that PSE would provide numerous opportunities for public review and comment throughout the permitting process, and our preliminary support revolved around environmental and public health benefits that our community would experience.”
Strickland’s comment and the council letter come after months of effort from members of the grassroots environmental group RedLine Tacoma to get answers at council, Port of Tacoma Commission and Washington Utility and Transportation Commission meetings.