TACOMA, Wash. -

 Puget Sound Energy is one step closer to building a liquefied natural gas plant in Tacoma after a state commission approved a financial agreement between the utility company and regulators.

The News Tribune reports the agreement calls for the Macquarie Group -- the multinational consortium that owns PSE --to create a subsidiary called Puget LNG to handle the new plant's commercial business. PSE and Puget LNG will jointly own and operate the Tideflats plant.

Washington's Utility and Transportation Commission approved the deal Monday saying it will allow PSE customers "to have the same, or even enhanced, level of protection from financial liability."

A spokesman says PSE still needs building permits, but plans to break ground on the $310 million plant "in the near future."

PSE aims to open the plant by 2019.