Tacoma’s industrial Tideflats, situated on the Puyallup Tribe’s ancestral estuary and home to the Port of Tacoma, is an ongoing target for new and expanded projects by major fossil fuel companies – threatening local water quality and human health. The region is beginning a long-term subarea planning process for Tideflats. This comprehensive land use planning process, expected to take up to five years, will determine what types of industrial uses are prioritized and permitted at the Port of Tacoma, representing a strategic opportunity to map out an environmentally sustainable future for Tacoma’s historic tideflats, and for advocacy to protect Puget Sound from increased fossil fuel pollution threats including catastrophic spills during bulk transport, as well as routine releases related to shipping and industrial operations. Pollution related to fossil fuel development impacts both human and ecological health; oil spills in particular have been linked to increased incidence of cancer, reproductive disorders, and other ailments by contaminating local waterways and fishing resources. Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility believes that enlisting health professionals is essential for charting a new course for Tacoma’s industrial region and surrounding waterways to advocate successfully for jobs and the environment, not job vs the environment. As the land use planning process for the Tacoma Tideflats moves forward over the next year, health-based advocacy will be a powerful means to ensure that local water quality is protected from the threats posed by encroachment of large fossil fuel facilities.
Washington Physicians for Social Responsiblity
Health-Based Advocacy to Protect Tacoma’s Tideflats
Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, 2019