Ginormous South Tacoma warehouse project gets green light despite social justice, environmental concerns
A major warehouse project big enough to cover 43 football fields can go forward in South Tacoma, following a decision by Tacoma's hearing examiner. That’s despite concerns by environmentalists and social justice advocates.
Environmentalists argued that residents near the warehouse would be hurt by the pollution that comes from trucks.
According to the City of Tacoma, 35% of residents there are Black and the average household income is just over $58,000.
Elinor Fanning is a toxicologist with the Washington State Department of Health. She was a witness for the law firm Earth Justice.
“This project, as currently written, with these mitigations, is likely to cause health harms to this neighborhood,” she said.
But Tacoma Hearing Examiner Jeff Capell said social justice is not something he can consider under the State Environmental Protection Act, or SEPA.
“So, if we’re talking about socio-economic impacts, environmental justice impacts, all those things, unless you can show me those are codified in SEPA, they are objectionable and I can’t do anything with them anyway,” he said.
In a statement, the South Tacoma Neighborhood Council expressed disappointment and vowed to keep working to protect the people of South Tacoma.