About What Happened on Tuesday…

December 13, 2019
By Erin Dilworth, Policy & Technical Program Manager, Citizens for a Healthy Bay

A lot happened this past Tuesday. Tuesday was a day where we took a couple steps forward, and a couple steps back, but our work to protect Commencement Bay, our community, and the planet is far from over. Here’s a rundown of Tuesday’s events:

Puyallup Tribal Council Chairman David Bean providing public comment opposing the LNG plant in Tacoma.

In the morning, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians became the first tribe in the United States to enact a Climate Emergency Resolution. Tribal Council passed a robust, stringent resolution with serious teeth, including a provision that commits the Tribe to prohibiting the development of new, and the expansion of existing, high risk fossil fuel facilities. We thank the Tribe for their bold leadership and commitment to climate justice. Read their resolution in full here.

Shortly after, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) approved Tacoma LNG facility’s construction permit. We continue to stand with the Puyallup Tribe in opposition to this project. We are disappointed to see that PSCAA continues to ignore the most relevant, and up-to-date science on greenhouse gas emissions, especially during a time when we need to drastically reduce our emissions to combat the Climate Crisis.

In response to PSCAA’s permit approval, a strong and diverse coalition of environmental and social justice organizations are continuing to press on to defeat this project. A press conference was held on Wednesday, where Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma announced they would be appealing PSCAA’s decision with the help from the legal team at Earthjustice. We support this appeal, and will release more information on that process as it becomes available.

Watch our full statement at the LNG press conference here.

Unfortunately, Tuesday came with one more piece of disappointing news when the Pierce County Council voted against clean air protections. Four of the seven councilmembers voted to oppose the regional Clean Fuel Standard, which will curb the amount of planet-warming gases we emit into the atmosphere by up to 26 percent by the year 2030! We thank Councilmembers Marty Campbell, Connie Ladenburg, and Derek Young for voting no on this resolution and for supporting cleaner air for communities in Pierce County.

As a community, there are many more opportunities to support the Clean Fuel Standard. A public comment hearing will be held next Thursday, December 19, in Seattle. Alternatively, you can submit written comments to CleanFuels@pscleanair.org by Monday January 6, 2020.

Mayor Woodards(left) and Erin Rasmussen(right), of the Sunrise movement youth activist group.

We ended Tuesday on a high note, when Tacoma City Council unanimously passed a climate emergency resolution in Tacoma – the first city in Washington state to do so. The resolution, which was first requested by youth climate activists during the September 20th Climate Strike, commits the City to update its Environmental Action Plan with specific, actionable climate and environmental justice initiatives, like the path to reaching the City’s 2050 carbon reduction goals. Unfortunately, the resolution doesn’t stop new or current fossil fuel expansion projects in the Tacoma Tideflats, a provision that was specifically requested by youth activists and other community advocates. While the resolution isn’t a silver bullet that solves climate change, it’s still an important step forward. Read their resolution here.

We will continue to advance strong environmental protections to achieve a cleaner and safer future for Tacoma and Puget Sound. Thank you for your continued activism and community support. If you have any questions about our policy work here in Tacoma, contact Erin Dilworth at edilworth@healthybay.org.

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