Protesters gather to say no to LNG plant in Tacoma

Protesters gathered to rally against a liquefied natural gas plant that's now going up on the Tacoma tide flats. (Photo: KOMO News)

TACOMA, Wash. -- Demonstrators traveled city to city in a major protest against Puget Sound Energy on Thursday.

It is to say 'no' to a liquefied natural gas plant that's now going up on the Tacoma tide flats.

When finished, the $300 million project will have a giant storage tank in the middle of the site. To the utility this represents a better environment with cleaner emissions from ships by weaning them off of bunker oil.

To protester,s it represents a threat to the environment. "Stop construction of the LNG plant in Tacoma now," said demonstrator Dakota Case of the Puyallup Tribe. "The only bridge that fracked natural gas provides is a bridge to hell on Earth."

Fracking is the process of injecting material deep into the earth to extract the natural gas. The bigger message here: Stop the nation's reliance on fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil.

The more targeted message: Stop the construction.

Some fear the plant is going to be explosive. "We don't need that explosion," said protester Elizabeth Satiacum. "Because what it's going to do is affect the whole environment, the rivers."

But Puget Sound Energy said it is following all of the legal requirements and putting safety first. "it is the same natural gas that people use in their homes and businesses," said Grant Ringel of PSE. "In i's liquid form is not flammable and is not explosive so it's a very safe facility."

PSE said the big storage tank is being double-walled built of concrete and steel. Ringel said it is "designed to withstand twice the earthquakes forces that the interstate highway system's designed to withstand."

But none of those claims is reassuring to the protestors. Many of them are Native American and say their people have been lied to before. They believe they still have a chance with lawsuits.

Puget Sound Energy said unless a court steps in they plan to open the plant at the end of 2019.

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