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Tribes Try to Halt Plant Construction in WA

The facility would produce 250,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas a day


TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The Puyallup Tribe and leaders from 14 other Northwest Tribes have called on Gov. Jay Inslee to stop the construction of Puget Sound Energy's liquefied natural gas plant on Tacoma's Tideflats, urging for a delay until an environmental review is complete "and all permit requirements are satisfied."

A letter signed by the various tribal leaders reiterated that there was no consultation with the Puyallup Tribe when planning for the plant was underway, the News Tribune reported Friday.

Last week, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency called for additional environmental review of the proposed plant before it can get a required air permit. That review is expected to take several months and will look at greenhouse-gas emissions that are created throughout the entire life cycle of the project.

"The decision reinforces what we have been saying all along — the process has been flawed since day one," Puyallup Tribal Chairman Bill Sterud said in a statement. "And this week Gov. Inslee rejected an oil terminal along the Columbia River because it posed serious risks to aquatic life. We now urge the governor to step up and protect the Puyallup Tribe's treaty lands, waters and resources from the very real threats of the liquid gas plant."

Puget Sound Energy officials have repeatedly said liquefied natural gas is a much cleaner-burning fuel than the bunker fuel that ships have historically run on.

The facility would produce 250,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas a day, with a storage tank at the plant holding 8 million gallons (30 million liters).

The Puyallup Tribe says the proposed plant is on what was once tribal land, and that the plant would be dangerous and dirty.

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