Puyallup Tribe calls PSE out for LNG work without permit


The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) has responded to issues that attorneys representing the Puyallup Tribe have raised concerning Puget Sound Energy’s compliance with permit procedures for its liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the Tacoma tideflats. This past August, tribal lawyers sent a letter to PSCAA requesting that the agency cite PSE and the Port of Tacoma and issue a stop-work order on the project since PSE was working without a permit on the controversial LNG storage facility.

In their reply letter to the tribal lawyers, PSCAA stated that it did issue a Notice of Violation to PSE this past April for failure to obtain a Notice of Construction approval prior to construction. However, this notice did not halt the LNG project but rather required PSE to respond to the notice by either 1.) submitting a written report describing the actions PSE has taken to correct the violation and achieve compliance with PSCAA regulations, or 2.) submitting a complete Notice of Construction application with the agency.

In reply, PSE said that it did not violate PSCAA’s requirements and requested that the agency withdraw the Notice of Violation. PSE contends that initial ground improvements, laying pipes, grading and clearing the LNG site area are not in violation of the agency’s regulations since none of these things emit air pollutants that would involve PSCAA. In its reply letter to tribal attorneys, the agency stated that it has not withdrawn its Notice of Violation and that it remains open for further enforcement. The letter also stated that these current circumstances do not merit an order by PSCAA to stop construction but could result in civil penalties if PSE fails to comply.

Puyallup Chairman Bill Sterud said he is disappointed that PSCAA would allow PSE to work at the LNG site without proper permits and only choose to fine them rather than enforce more serious ramifications.

“The Puyallup Tribe of Indians cannot accept that the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency continues to allow construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility near our reservation,” the Chairman said. “Installing an 8 million gallon facility to store volatile LNG fuel, Puget Sound Energy must be required to follow all permitting processes as by law ensuring that the City of Tacoma and its residents are safe. Such a large facility located in a densely populated area with a possibility of a major catastrophe is not only unacceptable for our entire tribal membership, but for all of the people in this region.”

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  1. I’m more then disappointed with the PSCAA. Be responsible for the health of our City. I’m not understanding how the Agency cannot relate Gas VS Air Quality? I will remember your inability to act when the plant surely will express toxins into our environment. Believe me I will be the keeping these articles, requests for review and every name attached to the decision making. You may not act in an accountable way. But I will keep up when your poor decisions effect the many lives that will be effected by your inability to take steps to enforce permit requirements.

  2. The one Agency who is being open and transparent and you have the tenacity to criticize them. The PSCAA regulates air quality based on existing rules and regulations. If they don’t follow the rules of the Clean Air Act, there will be appeals. They are not a safety agency. PSE needs a permit and did not apply for one before beginning construction. While this project upsets some in the community, one of its purposes is to assure ocean going ships within 50 miles of the US shore are burning compliant fuels, not fuels loaded with contaminates such as high sulfur and elevated heavy metals. LNG is not a complicated project having only a few pieces of equipment to permit, unlike companies such as Boeing who have hundreds. PSE has now submitted their permit application and has complied with the order issued under the violation. I hope PSCAA levees a large fine against them for beginning construction without first obtaining an air permit. They deserve it.

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