As part of a worldwide mobilization in the lead-up to the Global Climate Action Summit, nearly a thousand concerned people gathered Saturday in downtown Tacoma to draw attention to the disconnect between global climate policies and the expansion of fossil fuel projects in the Northwest.
Particularly egregious, organizers said, is the continued work on the Puget Sound Energy Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage and processing facility being built on disputed Puyallup tribal land, against the wishes of the tribe and other local communities. The LNG plant has the blessing of local elected officials even though fracked gas is disastrous for the climate, they say, and the facility will add pollutants to an already toxic industrial area—leading to negative health impacts for surrounding communities, and profoundly endangering local orcas and salmon.
Located in a seismically unstable area, it’s also a profound risk for explosion—and within its “blast zone” is the for-profit Northwest Detention Center, which houses 1,575 immigrants, many of whom came to the United States to flee climate impacts, poverty, and violence.
Organizers pointed out the overlapping injustices at work in the LNG facility and the Detention Center. “Fossil fuel projects are disproportionately located near communities of color, low-income communities, and indigenous communities, where they threaten the immediate and long-term health and safety of those most vulnerable. Tacoma’s for-profit NW Detention Center sits adjacent to a Superfund site, built on liquefaction-prone fill in a seismic and tsunami zone. Allowing a potentially catastrophic LNG facility to be built nearby is yet another injustice added to the human rights violations occurring inside,” said Bradley Thompson with 350 Tacoma.
“We have to use our privilege to fight for what’s right, and have the duty to fight for those who can’t. The people in the Detention Center need us now– and putting them at even greater risk because of the LNG plant is monstrous,” added Maru Mora-Villalpando, NWDC Resistencia organizer.
Organizers said over 680 actions were held across 83 countries, to demand elected leaders commit to fighting climate change by building a world that puts people and justice before profits.
“As a Puyallup elder, I’m very grateful that the caring people are gathering here. Our Salish Sea and beautiful delta have been turned into a dirty, cruel place. PSE’s LNG and the ICE detention center are the final straw. I am here for all my relations,” said Ramona Bennet, Puyallup Tribal Elder.
350 Tacoma, Northwest Detention Center Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC, 350 Seattle, Redefine Tacoma, Protectors of the Salish Sea, Sierra Club Washington State, 350 Eastside, 350 Bellingham, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility organized the event