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Sitting atop 10-foot tripods, protesters say they’ll keep opposing Tacoma LNG plant

Protesters use giant tripods to block LNG plant site gates

Environmentally-concerned protesters blocked gates to Puget Sound Energy's liquefied natural-gas plant in Tacoma on Dec. 14, 2017, the second effort this week to disrupt construction.
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Environmentally-concerned protesters blocked gates to Puget Sound Energy's liquefied natural-gas plant in Tacoma on Dec. 14, 2017, the second effort this week to disrupt construction.

Protesters blocked gates to a liquefied natural-gas plant in Tacoma on Wednesday morning in their latest attempt to disrupt construction of the controversial project.

Large tripods were placed in front of three gates with protesters perched atop of each, about 10 feet above the ground. The protest came three days after two men were arrested after climbing a crane.

“We will continue to do so (protest) until we can wake up the region,” said Robert Satiacum, a member of the Puyallup Tribe.

The tribe and others are protesting Puget Sound Energy’s $310 million project, arguing it is unsafe for the environment and that the utility doesn’t have proper permits.

PSE spokesman Grant Ringel said PSE is “proceeding appropriately” with the project and that the plant is “a good news story for the environment.”

The tripods were set up before dawn and removed by mid morning. There were no arrests. Ringel said workers walked on to the property instead of driving but work continued as planned on Thursday.

Carlo Voli, one of the men arrested for climbing the crane on Monday, said he’s been inspired to protest the project because, “global warming affects us all.”

“It is an original issue,” said the Edmonds resident who will be arraigned Friday. “It effects the Salish Sea, the Puget Sound. I spent some time at Standing Rock. I feel very strongly that we need to support the original peoples of this land.”

Voli and Satiacum hope to see a large protest at the site on Monday.

“We are going to make a stand here,” Voli said. “We are not going to let this project continue.”

Satiacum said: “This is a heinous idea that needs to be stopped.”

Ryan Qualls, a 30-year-old member of the Tlingit Nation, was one of the protesters sitting atop the tripods. “I stand in protection of the water and future generations, in solidarity with the Puyallup Tribe and the tribes effected by the pipeline, and for my 1-year old daughter," he said.

Ringel said PSE supports protesters rights to express their opinion. “Our primary concern is safety.”

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