Flood of response pushes completion of latest Tacoma LNG review to March

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has slowed its time line for completing its review of comments on the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas facility planned for Tacoma.

In an update emailed Friday (Jan. 19), the agency said its work is “ongoing and we do not anticipate completing it until March 29, 2019.”

The agency had previously targeted Feb. 1 as its anticipated completion date.

It’s been nearly a year since the agency called for the SEIS for greenhouse gas emissions analysis and impacts for the Tacoma LNG site.

The SEIS was to offer a full quantitative analysis of the project’s life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions, upstream and downstream, to supplement sections of the city of Tacoma’s Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The PSE project, under construction on the Tacoma Tideflats, would convert 250,000 gallons of natural gas a day to LNG by chilling it to minus-260 degrees Fahrenheit. The LNG would be stored in a 8 million-gallon tank. The plant primarily would provide about 900,000 gallons of LNG each week to TOTE Maritime for its two Alaska ships and also would provide about 6 million to 8 million gallons of LNG for local customers during peak winter demand.

A draft of the report has come under fire from environmentalists, activists, people who live near the plant and others for its findings that it would lower greenhouse gas emissions if the fuel was sourced from British Columbia.

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A day of public hearings Oct. 30 with PSCAA representatives in Tacoma drew an outpouring of response, with those speaking against the project outnumbering those in favor.

The public comment period also drew a flood of responses, including from the state attorney general’s counsel for environmental protection, which, among other issues, encouraged the agency to “revise the draft SEIS to fully respond to other commenters’ concerns about the calculations of the short- and long-term global warming potential value of methane.”

A letter from the state’s Department of Ecology also offered technical expertise “to assist with calculations, determinations and mitigation,” if mitigation was considered.

In December, Betsy Wheelock of PSCAA told The News Tribune in response to a question via email that the agency had received “thousands” of comments on the draft SEIS.

More information on the project is at http://www.pscleanair.org/460/Current-Permitting-Projects