Sound Status Update – January Newsletter

January 1, 2021

Washington Attorney General Supports Lawsuit Against Tacoma LNG

On January 8, Attorney General Bob Ferguson submitted an Amicus Brief in support of the lawsuits brought against Puget Sound Energy’s Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility brought by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and other environmental advocacy groups.

The brief reads, “The FSEIS [Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement] failed in its primary purpose under the State Environmental Policy Act…” because the agency responsible for analyzing greenhouse gas emissions (Puget Sound Clean Air Agency) used misleading assumptions in their study that led to an inaccurate conclusion.

Stay tuned for more information for next steps in the LNG lawsuits!

Wednesday Meeting Set to Consider New Rules for Fossil Fuels

This Wednesday, February 3rd at 5:00pm, Planning Commission will set a public hearing date for commenting on proposed changes to the current Tideflats Interim Regulations. During this meeting, Planning Department staff will also share their recommendations on how to update the Tideflats Regulations, and make their draft recommendations available to the public for comment. These staff recommendations are the crucial next step in stopping the expansion of polluting industries.

There will be no chance for spoken public comment, but written comment is always helpful in shaping the commissioner’s questions and comments!

Written comment can be submitted until 4:00PM Wednesday February 3rd to

To join via Zoom, click:
To call in, dial: 253 215 8782
Meeting ID: 899 8215 7398

Engaging Tacoma Communities for Climate Action and Justice

Since August, CHB has been partnering with the City of Tacoma to update their Environmental Action Plan with a renewed focus on climate action and environmental justice. This process has multiple phases, and we can now share with you the results of Phase I, which focused on community engagement and the collection of community input. We trained 33 Climate Action Ambassadors who went out into their communities to speak with people about key priorities and barriers to a more equitable and sustainable future. This process was designed to center the voices of frontline communities, meaning those that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. With the help of Ambassadors and other partners we collected over 450 responses.

Initial analysis of the community responses shows clear patterns. Top sustainability priorities include access to green space and urban forestry, housing security, efficient and affordable transportation, and expanded low-carbon and active transportation systems. Respondents also identified potential barriers such as inequity and injustice, pollution, homelessness, and lack of access to essential services. This community input will help guide Phase II of the process, including further community engagement and developing climate strategies and actions that address community priorities and help Tacoma meet our climate goals. Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved!

CHB Welcomes New Climate Action Coordinator, Emma Keese

Emma Keese is passionate about climate justice and uplifting the voices of those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. She believes strongly in good science and the power of compelling storytelling to inform and inspire. Prior to joining Citizens for a Healthy Bay, she served as the Communications Director for FIELD Edventures and as a Sustainability Specialist with the City of Tacoma. She received her degree in Environmental Studies and Biology from Beloit College. As CHB’s Climate Action Coordinator she is engaging communities in Tacoma to inform the City’s Climate Justice Planning. She is excited to be partnering with the City of Tacoma and community members to develop a comprehensive, equitable plan to reach the City’s climate and sustainability goals.

Tales from Bay Patrol: Community Collaboration Stops Pollution

In mid-January, the residents near Browns Point noticed a construction barge near Caledonia Beach. Located right off the gently sloping beach, the barge posed a threat to the sensitive eelgrass beds that grow underwater. Eelgrass is crucial for reducing coastal erosion as well as providing foraging areas for young fish.

Concerns of the barge bottoming out on the eelgrass during low tide and the haphazard construction management seen on deck raised questions. Photos and videos of barge activity sent by community members supported reports of welding activity happening over the water, which sent pieces of heavy metal directly into the water – a clear violation of the Clean Water Act.

These photos and videos lead the Department of Ecology to issue a formal warning that any additional over water work will result in the barge owner paying a penalty of between $500.00 and $10,000.00 per violation, per day. This is a great example of community collaboration with our Bay Patrol program to ensure that polluters are held accountable!