Activists Rally along Columbia River to Protest Fracked-Gas-to-Methanol Refinery in Kalama, WA

Today, over 125 people on land and 50 people on water gathered at the “No Methanol Land and Water Action Community Camp-Out” opposing the proposed fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama, WA.


Activists Rally along Columbia River to Protest Fracked-Gas-to-Methanol Refinery in Kalama, WA

“No Methanol Land and Water Action Community Camp-Out” May 18, 2019, photo by Dan Serres.

Kalama, WA (May 18, 2019)—Today, over 125 people on land and 50 people on water gathered at the “No Methanol Land and Water Action Community Camp-Out” opposing the proposed fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama, WA. Speakers called on the Washington Department of Ecology to deny the project, and thanked Governor Inslee for his recent opposition to the project.


Watch the rally speeches from May 18, 2019, in Kalama, WA:

Among the voices standing up for communities and calling for a denial of the Kalama methanol refinery:

“I am extremely pleased that Governor Inslee stands up for clean energy and now publicly opposes the Kalama fracked gas-to-methanol refinery,” said Cambria Keely, a student activist and lifelong Kalama resident. “The climate crisis is an urgent matter affecting all generations. We simply cannot allow fossil fuel projects to pollute our precious air and water. I’m thrilled to see so many enthusiastic activists at the beautiful Kalama River today.”

“Washington is committed to 100% clean energy to drive our growing economy,” said Reverend Kathleen Patton from Cowlitz County. “It's time to leave behind dirty technologies like fracked gas that contribute to climate disaster. This project works against our deepest values and our best future.”

“A handful of jobs for a lifetime of pollution? No thank you! I'll pass,'” said Charlene DesRosier, owner of Camp Kalama.

“We need to make sure that we plan for more of a long term sustainable future and not one based on limited natural non-renewable resources,” said Mike Reuter, Mayor of Kalama.  

"The Kalama methanol refinery could have a tremendous impact on people who live and work nearby, like here at Camp Kalama. The air, noise, and light pollution from the proposed facility could impact local residents’ health," said Dr. Annemarie Dooley, with Physicians for Social Responsibility. "I strongly support the Governor's stand against this project and the health and climate risks it would bring to Washington."

In addition to local Cowlitz County residents, some people traveled long distances to lend support and show solidarity among activists fighting similar fracked gas proposals in other parts of the Northwest, such as the Tacoma LNG and Jordan Cove LNG projects.

“With fracked gas being a threat to so many indigenous communities from the bakken oil fields on Lakota, Dakota and Nakota territory, and with the end of the natural gas stream being right here on our land, we find it necessary to stand up and fight back utilizing our treaty rights which are supreme law of the land - and one more fossil fuel facility in Washington would lock our children in a uncertain future plagued by climate crisis,” said Dakota Case, Puyallup Water Warrior and member of the Puyallup Tribe. “We would like to thank Governor Inslee for his awareness of the dangers of outdated fossil fuel infrastructure.”

"Opposing fracked gas is only one step, albeit an important one, to making the just transition to renewable energies we need for a sustainable future,” said Kiran Oommen, who is a plaintiff in the Juliana vs. United States youth-led Children’s Trust lawsuit. “The Department of Ecology has a responsibility to the people to act in our best interests and deny all permits for fracked gas, putting Gov. Inslee’s recognition of the issues with such fuel extraction into action. For the youth of today and the future generations of tomorrow, we all need to take lead in pushing the energy industry to renewables. It’s time to take the climate science seriously."

“This is a matter of great importance to our homelands. There is no good land to start or place a new pipeline when we should be moving away from fossil fuels,” said Karry Kelley,

Paiute/Modoc Member of the Klamath Tribes. “Let us concentrate on saving the pristine and sacred lands we have by not allowing this or any new pipeline to be built.”

To date, members of the Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition have submitted over 100,000 comments and statements opposing fracked gas proposals in Oregon and Washington including Kalama Methanol, Tacoma LNG, and Jordan Cove LNG.

Permitting and environmental reviews are underway by Cowlitz County and the Port of Kalama. The project requires approval from the Washington Department of Ecology, which is required to protect Washington’s shorelines from climate change impacts.

Power Past Fracked Gas is a growing coalition of Pacific Northwest health, environmental, faith, and community groups that believe in the power of clean energy and the value of clean water. We oppose new fracked gas infrastructure that locks our region into decades of continued reliance on dirty energy and harmful projects.


Background information:

Current status of the proposal: On May 8, 2019, Governor Inslee announced his opposition to Northwest Innovation Works’ proposed methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington. If Northwest Innovation Works chooses to move forward without Governor Inslee’s support, the company would need approval from the Washington Department of Ecology and permits from local and federal agencies. While Governor Inslee is not directly involved with the Department of Ecology’s decision, the Governor noted that “it’s time for us to modernize and update the ways we weigh the costs and benefits of all fossil fuels, including natural gas.” The Department of Ecology has already raised serious questions about the methanol refinery’s climate impacts.

About the project: A subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences called Northwest Innovation Works proposes building two of the world’s largest fracked-gas-to-methanol refineries in Kalama, Washington and Port Westward, Oregon. Methanol is a chemical used to make plastic or burned as a fuel. A single refinery could consume 320 million cubic feet of fracked gas per day, more than all other industrial uses in the State of Washington combined. Each refinery would emit more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gases from the smokestacks alone—and emit up to 7 million tons when “upstream” methane leakage is considered.