Tacoma is now the closest its ever been to stopping the expansion of fossil fuel facilities in the Tideflats and becoming a hub for renewable fuels. It’s been a long and winding path to get here, so here is a brief history of how we got to where we are today:
Last fall City Council ordered our Planning Commission to develop rules that would make our Tideflats Interim Regulations permanent, and how the City could regulate existing high risk polluting industries. Ultimately, the Council chose not to adopt the Planning Commission’s draft rules, and instead sent them to the Council’s Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee (IPS) for further review and to come back with amendments to the full Council by the end of August. This week, the IPS Committee voted on seven different amendments related to fossil fuels – five passed and are headed to the full Council by early October.
The good news: An amendment creating a pathway for renewable fuels, something we didn’t have under the Interim Regulations, passed! We need to ensure this pathway is for fuels that will actually help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and not let dirtier renewable fuels like ethanol and palm oil slip through.
More good news: CHB submitted an amendment requiring high risk fossil fuel facilities to have insurance policies that cover the City of Tacoma, and this amendment passed 4-0!
The bad news: An amendment that would allow the Puget Sound Energy LNG facility to reach its full refining capacity passed by a 3-1 vote. If this amendment passes full council, an additional 1 MILLION tons of greenhouse gases will be released to the air, every year for the life of the project. We cannot let one bad amendment ruin all the good that can come from Tacoma becoming a hub for clean, renewable energy production.
What’s next: The City will hold multiple public hearings before this goes to a vote for the full Council. We anticipate the first hearing to take place by early October. We will share those details as soon as we get them.
We are so close. Tacoma should be a clean fuel hub – clean fuels and technologies are the future of economic growth and key to meeting the emissions reductions needed to address climate change. Stay with us, we will need your help to ensure our Council votes the right way.
In late July, Citizens for a Healthy Bay and EarthCorps teamed up with volunteers to tackle the litter located along Squally Beach. Tucked in the Hylebos Waterway, under the E 11th St / Hylebos Bridge, Squally Beach is an intertidal saltmarsh that captures runoff from the nearby slopes of Marine View Drive. Clams, mussels, seals, great blue herons, and other birds and small fish were seen along the beach. Together we overfilled the dumpster provided for us by the City of Tacoma with litter ranging from small individual pieces of confetti all the way to suitcases filled with beer cans and even an entire set of tires. Thank you to our wonderful volunteers and our partners at EarthCorps and City of Tacoma for their help in making this beach clean-up a big success!
Citizens for a Healthy Bay has been partnering with the City of Tacoma to create a Climate Action plan with a renewed focus on climate justice. This process has multiple phases, and we can now share with you the full results of Phase II of community engagement. Over 430 community members shared their feedback on the draft climate actions through surveys, workshops, and conversations. To reach and uplift underserved and underrepresented communities we: 1) prioritized deep, informed feedback with nine workshops co-hosted with local organizations that serve frontline communities and 2) broke down the community input to improve our understanding of the perspectives from all of Tacoma’s unique communities.
The Big Moves for Climate laid out in our Phase II Engagement Report were identified through community input as important actions needed to building a healthy, climate resilient community. Actions of particular importance to frontline communities include: community members and partners share climate action leadership; homes and buildings are healthy, affordable, resilient, and low carbon; no food is wasted; and neighbors share, reuse, and repair items easily in our thriving circular economy.
There will be a final opportunity for public comment on the draft plan in late September before it goes to City Council for approval in early November. We will be in touch soon with details on how you can share your thoughts on taking equitable, transformative climate action in Tacoma.
We know that our air is cleaner, water is clearer, and people are healthier when more people show up and vote. For Pierce County residents, there are several seats up for the Port of Tacoma so we held a forum to discuss the issues!
We don’t issue endorsements for candidates, but we do know issues like the climate crisis, a just transition off fossil fuel, indigenous rights, and salmon preservation need to be center stage in discussions around land use and clean energy.
We know we have less than a decade to reduce the bulk of our greenhouse gas emissions, transition away from fossil fuels, and ensure we have good paying jobs to catch workers falling out of dying industries, so your vote is as crucial as ever!
CHB is proud to welcome Candice Ruud, City of Tacoma Firefighter, to our Board of Directors. CHB’s board is composed of knowledgeable and experienced leaders from business, government, and education. They define and advance the mission of CHB and act as ambassadors to the community.