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Proposed LNG Facility FAQs

The Tacoma Fire Department (TFD) has received multiple inquiries from citizens about the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility that Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is proposing to build on Port of Tacoma property on the Blair-Hylebos peninsula. Below is a list of TFD’s responses to frequently asked questions related to public safety about the proposed project. If your questions about public safety have not been answered below, we encourage you to email us at tacomafiredepartment@cityoftacoma.org to submit your questions.

Q. What is LNG?
A. When natural gas is chilled to extremely cold temperatures (minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit), it converts to a liquid, called liquefied natural gas or LNG for short. Above that temperature, LNG converts back to natural gas.

Q. How is LNG kept cold enough to remain a liquid?
A. PSE is proposing to build an insulated storage tank that can contain up to 8-million gallons of LNG. The tank would be 140 feet tall and 130 feet in diameter.

Q. Has the LNG project already been approved to be built?
A. No. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project has been approved, but permits for the facility have not yet been approved. We expect that PSE will submit an application for building permits for the facility later this year. When the application is received, it will be reviewed by TFD and other City of Tacoma Departments. TFD’s role will be to review the facility design and the fire protection systems to ensure compliance with fire codes and design standards.

Q. Regarding public safety, what other agencies will be involved with permits or approvals to build the facility?
A. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has jurisdiction over the marine portion of the project, including fueling operations on the Blair Waterway. Currently the USCG is conducting a Waterway Suitability Study for the proposed project. In addition to TFD, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) will review the facility design. The WUTC has jurisdiction over the new natural gas pipeline to the facility that is part of the project.

Q. I heard that I live in the “blast zone” of the facility?
A. The Tacoma Fire Department does not endorse the graphic circulating on social media that depicts “blast zones” of one, two and three mile radii centered at the site of the proposed facility. Such zones might be appropriate for LNG import/export terminals served by LNG cargo ships carrying 35 million or more gallons of LNG. They are based on worst-case scenarios involving a terrorist attack on an LNG cargo ship resulting in an uncontrolled spill of LNG over the water. There will be no cargo ships calling on the proposed facility capable of carrying those amounts of LNG, and they will not be permitted to operate as an import/export facility.

Q. I heard that LNG facilities are supposed to be located two to three miles from residences?
A. Those location recommendations are intended for large-scale LNG facilities, such as export facilities served by LNG cargo ships carrying 35 million gallons or more of LNG. Export facilities typically store enough LNG on site for several cargo ships. (Compared with existing tanks in the tideflats, PSE’s proposed 8-million gallon storage tank is large; but compared with LNG export facilities, both the total amount of LNG being stored and the production capacity of PSE’s proposed facility are considered small-scale.)

 

Q. Will the City be able to open the fire station and staff it?

A. Budgeted funds will be made available to renovate and re-open the fire station at 11th and Taylor Way, and that project will begin upon the issuance of a permit for the construction of the PSE facility. The City is planning to staff that fire station with new tax revenues available from and contingent upon the construction of the PSE facility.
 
Q. Where can I find additional details regarding the project?
A. The City of Tacoma Planning and Development services has a dedicated web page for the proposed PSE Tideflats LNG Facility

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Contact Information
 

Tacoma Fire Department
901 Fawcett Ave 
Tacoma, WA 98402

Phone: (253) 591-5737
FAX: (253) 591-5746
Email

Business Hours 
 
Monday - Friday
8 AM - 5 PM