Tacoma Setting Land Use Barriers for Fossil Fuel

Even with a year-long halt on new projects, the city is grappling with plans for industrial land use.
October 18, 2018, 12pm PDT | Camille Fink
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Eric de Place and Aven Frey report on developments in the industrial port area of Tacoma, Washington, called the Tideflats. Last year, the city council passed a moratorium on new fossil-fuel projects to give the city some time to develop a plan for the area. “It was also an unequivocal statement that Tacoma is moving in a new direction: toward cleaner and less divisive development,” say de Place and Frey.

The city council is considering renewing the moratorium, which will expire next month. But other controversial projects are still on the horizon, including a liquefied natural gas plant and expansion of operations at an oil refinery

In addition, a petroleum facility is seeking permits to bring in natural gasoline, a fracking byproduct. “Natural gasoline, sometimes used as a transportation fuel, would be delivered to the site by trains with as many as 107 tank cars, passing near residential areas, important water bodies, and the Puyallup Tribe’s reservation along the way,” according to de Place and Frey.

The projects are potential safety and environmental threats to Tacoma but also to the region and the Salish Sea, as these fossil-fuel products are transported. “There’s every reason to believe that dirty energy projects will continue to target the City of Destiny. Yet leaders can choose to expand their protections to preclude growth at existing facilities too,” say de Place and Frey.

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Published on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 in Sightline Institute
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