Tribes standing up for their treaty rights and protecting natural resources that benefit the broader community is nothing new. So, it shouldn’t be that surprising that the Puyallup Tribe recently took to the courts to stand in the way of a new gas plant near the mouth of the Puyallup River:
Among other things, the tribe is worried that contaminated soils will be exposed by a proposed barge facility on the Hylebos, hurting fishing stocks and possibly impacting tribal marinas across the waterway from the plant, according to the lawsuit, which was filed on the tribe’s behalf by attorney Lisa A. Brautigam.
“The site is within a large and not yet cleaned up Superfund site. Extensive groundwater contamination exists within a plume that could be impacted by the construction,” the lawsuit states. “The (environmental plan) is not complete with regard to analysis of the impacts to groundwater or … how impacts to groundwater at the site from the proposal will potentially impact surrounding water quality of surface waters.”
The tribe’s lawsuit echoes concerns local residents recently had about the new gas plant in the neighborhood:
But such precautions haven’t been enough to assure everyone that the plant will be a good neighbor.
David Mueller, whose property on Browns Point Boulevard overlooks the Port of Tacoma, said he and his wife, Pam, moved here about six years ago to retire.
“We are fortunate to find such a beautiful place to live,” Mueller said. “I see so much potential in Tacoma.”
But the couple is wary of the plant’s effect on Tacoma and the environment. They worry the plant will add pollutants to the air and water.
“We have a lot of history in this town of having polluting industries,” Mueller said. “We got rid of Asarco and refurbished the area into something that people are proud of. Then we turn around and build a plant that’s going to be a polluter.”