Hundreds of people from Cowlitz County and neighboring areas rallied before the hearing to call on Governor Inslee and Ecology to deny the proposed fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama, WA.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kalama Methanol Hearing Draws Strong Opposition to Fracked Gas
December 13, 2018 (Longview, WA)–Today, the Port of Kalama and Cowlitz County held a public hearing on the proposed fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama, WA. The hearing focused on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the full climate impacts of the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery, but many people used the opportunity to urge Washington Department of Ecology and Washington Governor Jay Inslee to deny the project as a whole. Hundreds of people from Cowlitz County and neighboring areas rallied before the hearing to call on Governor Inslee and Ecology to deny the project.
Among the voices standing up for communities and calling for a denial of the Kalama methanol refinery:
Mike Reuter, Kalama’s Mayor, told the the assembled group, “I am the mayor of Kalama, but I am speaking here today as a private citizen who is concerned about the welfare and future for the people and businesses of the NW and Kalama. I’m very concerned that this refinery will cause a pipeline capacity problem, and that businesses and ratepayers will end up footing the bill when energy prices go up as a result. These impacts are on my mind – I hope they are on Governor Inslee’s mind too–and I think they should be addressed rather than us rushing to make Kalama a fuel depot for China.”
"This project will harm the health of people living in Cowlitz County; harm the health of those who live near the fracking wells; and since it is inconceivable that it will decrease rather than increase greenhouse gas emissions, it will harm the health of everyone on our planet,” said Dr. Melanie Plaut, a retired physician and member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
“Governor Inslee and Ecology need to be climate champions and deny this project; the Kalama methanol refinery would consume a stunning amount of fracked gas—one-third as much gas as used by the entire state of Washington.” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director for Columbia Riverkeeper.
“Governor Inslee understands the dangers of fracking and fossil fuels,” said Cecile Gernez, Conservation Organizer with the Sierra Club Washington State Chapter. “Now is the critical moment for our governor to stand with us, and reject this dirty fossil fuel project.”
The Port of Kalama and Cowlitz County are accepting written public comments on the Draft EIS from November 13 until December 28.
- Photos from rally and hearing Dec. 13, 2018.
- Methanol Company Downplays Climate Impact of Refinery, November 2018
- FOIA Lawsuit: U.S. Dept. of Energy Withholding Info about Financial Aid for Proposed Petrochemical Plant, August 2018
- Port Broke Law By Ignoring Greenhouse Gas Pollution, April 2018
- State Board Rules that Port Of Kalama Violated Washington Law by Failing to Evaluate Greenhouse Gas Impacts, September 2017
A subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences called Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW) seeks to build methanol refineries at Kalama, WA, and Port Westward, OR, to take advantage of the region’s cheap fracked gas (methane), electricity, and water. The refineries would convert stunning volumes of fracked gas into methanol for export to China, to make plastics or fuel China’s growing fleet of automobiles. According to NWIW’s own estimates, the Kalama facility would consume 270,000 dekatherms of fracked gas per day—increasing Washington’s total fracked gas consumption by over one third. In addition, the ramped-up extraction and transportation of the fracked gas needed to supply this facility would result in increased emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 87 times more powerful than carbon dioxide during the time it remains in the atmosphere.
In 2017, the Washington Shorelines Hearings Board, in a case brought by Columbia Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity—represented by Earthjustice—ruled the that the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the methanol refinery violated the law because the EIS failed to consider the full climate impacts of the project. The Board overturned the permits for the methanol refinery. The new EIS issued today attempts to comply with the Board’s order to evaluate the full climate impacts.