After public pressure from Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and a letter from two City Council members, Puget Sound Energy will hold a public forum to discuss the liquified natural gas plant it has proposed for Tacoma’s Tideflats and answer questions.
The date and venue haven’t been nailed down, but the forum will take place in Tacoma “as quickly as possible,” PSE spokesman Grant Ringel said Friday.
“We would really like to respond very quickly, but again, we’re in the middle of trying to work the logistics out at the present time,” he said.
During a citizens forum last week, Strickland told Ringel as he stood at the lectern that PSE’s recent efforts to keep safety documents about the plant from being released was “not a good look,” prompting applause from anti-LNG activists.
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Strickland recommended a public forum to discuss the project and allow residents to ask questions.
A letter from Councilman Ryan Mello and Councilwoman Victoria Woodards dated the next day backed up Strickland’s statements and requested the same.
“There are serious, valid concerns regarding the safety of this project in the currently proposed location,” the letter states. “Our community has every right to fully understand the benefits and risks of the project in order to make an informed decision ...
“We also have serious concerns about how the public has been engaged, notified and informed up to this point. ... We support the mayor’s request that Puget Sound Energy have a community forum(s) to address the valid concerns of the public and let the public know exactly what this project is, and what it is not.”
While the letter acknowledged both council members had written in support of the project several years ago, it said PSE’s lack of transparency has flown in the face of the conditions they laid out for that support.
PSE sued The News Tribune and others to prevent the release of safety studies that contemplate the level of danger should a spill or other type of accident occur at the plant. It dropped those lawsuits last week after The News Tribune published the documents after obtaining them independently.
PSE also is suing the state Utilities and Transportation Commission to prevent the disclosure of other documents regarding the LNG plant.
“We’ll talk about any aspect of safety that anyone wants to talk about, and we’ve been willing to do that,” Ringel said of the upcoming forum. “We look forward to having the dialogue.”