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Tacomans Say Puget Sound Energy Is Using A Poll To Try To Sway Opinion About LNG Project

Patrick Rodriguez via Wikimedia Commons

After working to defeat a plan for a giant methanol plant, the grassroots environmental group RedLine Tacoma has turned a critical eye to another big energy project, Puget Sound Energy's plan to build a facility at the Port of Tacoma to store liquefied natural gas and sell it as a marine fuel.

Now, people affiliated with RedLine say they’ve received a phone poll that they think is aimed at persuading them to soften their views. 

The project has only recently drawn a lot of public attention in the wake of the methanol controversy. Bradley Thompson is affiliated with RedLine Tacoma and said his housemate received a phone poll about the project and put the call on speaker phone. Thompson said it started like a regular public opinion survey.

"But then I would say it was also what’s called or known as push polling, where you’re kind of giving the information you want the other person to receive, but it’s veiled, if you will, as a public opinion poll," Thompson said.

For example, Thompson said the pollster said that Puget Sound Energy has already received all its permits.

That’s not really true – a shoreline permit is in the appeals process and there are others the company needs to get from Tacoma and Fife.

PSE spokesman Grant Ringel said the purpose of the poll is not to change people’s minds but instead to find out what customers think of the project.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.