Comment to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) not to Permit the Tacoma Liquified Gas Project

Stephen M. Sachs,* August 30, 2019

I propose strongly that the Tacoma Liquified Gas project permit should be denied for several reasons, procedural and substantive.

In terms of procedure, the project should be delayed until there is proper consultation with the Puyallup Tribal Nation who has a major interest in whether the project goes forward, and therefore must be consulted according to federal policy. To date, the Puyallup Tribal Nation has not been consulted about this project. There has yet to be required consideration about how this project will impact or affect the tribe’s health, sustainability, jurisdiction, treaty and hunting fishing rights which are protected by treaty. Since the tribe’s treaty rights are at stake, the Agency should avoid a long lawsuit over the issue and consult properly with the tribe in advance, as is required by law.

In terms of substance, though it also involves flawed procedure, the project is too dangerous to be allowed to proceed on both local and national/global grounds. Locally, liquid natural gas is a highly toxic extremely explosive substance. Leaks is pipes and storage facilities, which industry records show are common, cause serious health problems in areas surrounding such sites. If there is a sufficient leak, the gas will spread over a wide area until it ignites in a potentially extremely large and wide spread explosion. In addition to the great danger accidents, having such a facility in a populous area risks an extremely deadly attack. Experience and common sense show that no liquid natural gas facility should be built in any area in which there are people.

In this case, to date, there has been no public health impact assessment conducted for this project. The risk for pollution and toxic contamination is far too great for local communities, while the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) that was submitted for this project was flawed and used outdated science to evaluate greenhouse gas emissions.

Nationally and globally, the project should not be built because it will contribute greatly to increasing the amount of methane and carbon being put into the atmosphere increasing global warming induced climate change at a time when atmospheric warming is reaching a critical stage. Already oceans are rising threatening islands and costal areas and bringing greater and greater flooding. Extreme weather is increasingly causing major damage to people, and property - including to agricultural production in the U.S. and world-wide, as has been progressively been experienced this summer and over the last few years. Scientists are virtually unanimous that if more greenhouse gasses are put in the air the situation will become worse and soon reach a point of no return in causing world wide catastrophe. As it is essential to stop increasing production of gas, oil and coal, and in fact reduce it, no project should be built that increases such production, as Tacoma Liquified Gas project would, if completed. Moreover, since this is the case, it is likely that if the project were begun it would soon be shut down, causing huge economic loss as well as damage to the environment with no return, that could be avoided by not beginning the project in the first place.

I urge you not to permit the project.

*Stephen M. Sachs is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, IUPUI, Senior Editor of IPJ and Coordinating Editor of Nonviolent Change.

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