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LNG permitting problems expected to dominate clean-air meetings this week in Tacoma

Puget Sound Energy is constructing a $310 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, seen here in October, at the Port of Tacoma.
Puget Sound Energy is constructing a $310 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, seen here in October, at the Port of Tacoma. phaley@thenewstribune.com

Questions about the permits for Puget Sound Energy’s controversial liquefied natural-gas plant are expected to dominate a pair of informational meetings being held by Puget Sound Clean Air Agency this week.

The two-hour meetings will take place on Monday, Nov. 27, and the other on Friday, Dec. 1. They will start with a brief presentation by the air-agency staff about the project and then will be opened up to the crowd for questions.

Agency officials anticipate they’ll get an earful about Puget Sound Energy’s permit application for the plant. Lawyers for the Puyallup Tribe of Indians sent the agency and others, including the city of Tacoma, a letter in late August requesting a stop-work order on the LNG project, alleging PSE was doing work without a permit.

According to the response letter from the clean-air agency, PSE was issued a notice of violation by the agency in April for “failure to obtain a notice of construction approval prior to construction, installation, establishment or modification of a source.”

PSE did not have a complete application at that time, said director of compliance Steve Van Slyke.

“They don’t have the construction permit they need from us for the air permit,” Van Slyke said last week. “The tribe had asked us to investigate and shut the project down. We issued a notice of violation. It’s still open … so the violation was for not getting the permit before they started construction. The corrective action order asked them to submit a complete application, and we now have the complete application, so we’re going through review to identify, is it approvable? Does it meet the requirements?”

Van Slyke added that the corrective-action order didn’t require PSE to stop work on the plant. If PSE gets its permit, the agency will determine what kind of civil penalty will be issued for “noncompliance.”

Candice Ruud: 253-597-8441, @candiceruud

LNG informational meetings

When: Monday, Nov. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Where: Bates Technical College downtown campus, 1101 S. Yakima Ave. Meetings will take place in the auditorium.

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