About 50 protested Puget Sound Energy’s plans to develop a liquefied natural gas facility in Tacoma, the Colstrip coal power plan in Montana and pushed for its move to renewable energy on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Sara Papanikolaou

About 50 protested Puget Sound Energy’s plans to develop a liquefied natural gas facility in Tacoma, the Colstrip coal power plan in Montana and pushed for its move to renewable energy on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Sara Papanikolaou

Environmental groups protest Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy

About 50 environmentalists stormed Puget Sound Energy headquarters in Bellevue Thursday.

The group was among hundreds of other protesters who rallied against the company’s 13 facilities across Western Washington in a movement called “Keep It in the Ground.”

Members of the Sierra Club, a newly-formed Eastside chapter of 350.org, CENSE and Protectors of the Salish Sea delivered an official letter and 5,000 signatures on a petition that demanded the utility company stop pushing fracked gas, abandon its liquefied natural gas facility in Tacoma plans and shutdown the Colstrip coal plant in Montana, which, they claim, is the dirtiest in the United States. Instead, they requested Puget Sound Energy switch to 100 percent renewable energy.

During the Bellevue protest, Sa’anich member Paul Cheoketan Wagner led the group in prayer-based drumming and singing. The protests were organized by environmental groups in Washington to stand in solidarity with Puyallup Water Warriors to fight the liquid natural gas facility.

“Jobs are important,” Puyallup tribal member Dakota W. Case said in a news release. “But not those jobs. The kind of jobs we need are renewable energy jobs if we’re going to move forward as the human race to actually live in harmony and have a sustainable future.”

Jessica Koski with the Sierra Club said it was exciting that the two organizations banded together to deliver the signatures. Although at first they were blocked by police, she said they were able to hand off the box of signatures to a Puget Sound Energy representative. They’re initial plan was to give the petition to CEO Kimberly Harris.

“They are in their hands,” Koski said. “So, hopefully they’re taking note of that.”

The protests were held in North Seattle, Tacoma, Poulsbo, Ellensburg, Kent, Bellingham, Whidbey Island, Vashon, Olympia, Bremerton, Wenatchee, and Chehalis in addition to Bellevue.

“No more excuses or ‘bridge’ fuels,” 350 Seattle’s Jess Wallach said. “With the recent hurricanes and wildfires, we’ve seen what’s at stake. We have to seize this moment to move decisively to clean energy – not let ourselves get locked into decades of fossil fuel use.”

Puget Sound Energy announced on Sept. 15 they had reached a settlement in their rate case. With an increase of 1 percent for electric bills and a decrease of 4 percent, they said the settlement established a funding mechanism to decommission and re-mediate the shutdown of Colstrip units 1 and 2, which are scheduled for July 2022, and the settlement set aside funding for the shutdown and cleanup costs for units 3 and 4 as well, but no dates for those closures have been established.

For the newer Colstrip units 3 and 4, the schedule for depreciating those investments has been accelerated from a period ending in 2045 to one ending in 2027. This does not mean that units 3 and 4 will shut down in 2027; rather it means the money invested in the units will be recovered by then, Energy officials said.

“This settlement establishes a workable mechanism to fund the decommissioning and environmental remediation at Colstrip,”Ken Johnson, Puget Sound Energy’s director of regulatory affairs, said. “It ensures future generations will not be burdened by costs resulting from decisions made five decades ago.”

The Sierra Club responded that they believe the economic realities will lead to a sooner closure and the “most important action now is get outstanding debt paid down so that the next generation of Washington families aren’t stuck paying for an inoperable coal plant.”

“This is a huge step towards cutting ties with polluting coal, which still makes up about 30 percent of Puget Sound Energy’s power, and replacing it with clean energy,” Sierra Club officials said in a news release. “Now we must push Puget Sound Energy to continue this forward progress by recognizing the likelihood of a 2025 retirement date, or sooner, and bring other Colstrip owners on board.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Patrick Kim. Courtesy of the Department of Licensing.
Bellevue man defrauds clients from Korean community, joins insurance fraud most wanted

Patrick Kim failed to appear at the King County Superior Court for numerous felony charges.

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the first Pride flag crosswalk at Bellevue College on May 17. Courtesy of Bellevue College.
Bellevue College hosts ribbon cutting ceremony for first rainbow crosswalk

Two more rainbow crosswalks are in the works, with the second one being the Progress Pride flag.

Bellevue Downtown Association logo
Downtown Bellevue Association to host Police Chief Wendell Shirley for Q&A event

The event will take place on Tuesday, May 24, from 7:30 to 9 am at the Bellevue Club.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

The Newport Team launches their rocket. Courtesy of AIA.
Newport High School team crowned National Champions at American Rocketry Challenge

The team will represent the United States at the International Rocketry Challenge this July.

Screenshot from Bellevue School Foundation website
Bellevue Schools Foundation to study affordable housing in the community

Research made possible with $250,000 grant from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Most Read