You did it! Today Governor Inslee announced opposition to two fracked gas projects in Washington state: NW Innovation Works’ Kalama, WA, methanol refinery and the Tacoma, WA, LNG facility.
BREAKING: Governor Jay Inslee Opposes Two Washington State Fracked Gas Projects
You did it! Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced opposition to two fracked gas projects in Washington state: NW Innovation Works’ methanol refinery and the Tacoma LNG facility. “I cannot in good conscience support continued construction of a liquefied natural gas plant in Tacoma or a methanol production facility in Kalama,” stated Governor Inslee in a May 7, 2019, press release.
This huge step is because of your work to show up and speak up for a clean energy future and against the fossil fuel industry.
Please take a moment to send a letter of gratitude to Governor Inslee!
Inslee announces opposition to two gas projects in Washington
May 8, 2019 via Governor.gov.wa
Gov. Jay Inslee today signed a bill banning hydraulic fracking for oil and natural gas within Washington state. Immediately following the signing, Inslee spoke with the media to discuss how the emerging science emphasizing the urgency of climate change and the environmental impacts of natural gas make clear the state’s efforts and future investments in energy infrastructure should focus on clean, renewable sources rather than fossil fuels.
The governor said such thinking should apply to current proposals to construct significant, long-term new natural gas infrastructure in Washington state.
“We’ve always leaned on science to guide our efforts on climate change and the science is increasingly clear. The accelerating threat of climate change and the emerging science on the damaging impacts of natural gas production and distribution mean we must focus our full efforts on developing clean, renewable and fossil-fuel free energy sources. Being committed now to 100 percent clean electricity and signing a bill prohibiting fracking in Washington state, we want to be consistent to that spirit of progress.
“I cannot in good conscience support continued construction of a liquefied natural gas plant in Tacoma or a methanol production facility in Kalama. In the early days of both projects, I said they could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions as we transition to cleaner energy sources, but I am no longer convinced that locking in these multidecadal infrastructure projects are sufficient to accomplishing what's necessary. Science is continuing to emerge regarding the dwindling window for action and the significant methane leakage associated with gas production, and we don’t have the luxury of a 50-year transition phase. The impacts of climate change are already coming to bear and scientists are saying that unless we reduce emissions by half over the next decade, we will reach an irreversible tipping point. There are emerging technologies that could make renewable gas a viable source of energy.
“I want to be clear that my stance on these projects does not change our state’s regulatory process. As is the case with any project, our state agencies will comply with state and federal laws to ensure a rigorous and objective review of projects. Decisions on permit applications must also be made in accordance with state and federal law.
“But it’s time for us to modernize and update the ways we weigh the costs and benefits of all fossil fuels, including natural gas. I’ll be working with agency directors in the coming weeks to discuss the way forward.
“The age of consequences is upon us. We have to act based on clear science. Washington is embracing a clean energy future and the clean, healthy, sustainable jobs and benefits that come with it. We should be confident in our ability to build our clean energy economy while sustaining record economic growth and record numbers of good-paying construction and building jobs.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington Communities Applaud Governor Inslee’s Opposition to Fracked Gas Projects
[Statewide, Washington] - Washington environmental, public health, and community organizations praised Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement today opposing continued construction of Puget Sound Energy’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Tacoma and Northwest Innovation Works’ proposed fracked gas-to-methanol production facility in Kalama. In detailing the reasons for his opposition, the Governor’s statement cited the emerging science of high methane pollution rates associated with gas infrastructure and the urgent need for action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Washington communities that have long called on Governor Inslee to oppose the Tacoma LNG facility and Kalama methanol refinery projects applauded the statement as a necessary stand for climate action.
The Power Past Fracked Gas coalition now looks to the City of Tacoma and the Washington State Department of Ecology to perform a supplemental environmental impact statement to evaluate changes to and safety concerns with the Tacoma LNG facility. The coalition also urges Washington's Department of Ecology to reject the Kalama methanol refinery lead agencies’ inaccurate and incomplete environmental analyses.
“It's never too late to do the right thing as the governor has proven today with signing SB 5145 into effect,” said Dakota Case, a leader with the Water Warriors and a Puyallup Tribal member. “He has come out in opposition of the PSE liquified natural gas facility that has continued to pose a threat to our tribe, salmon and surrounding communities. This is definitely a blow in the fight with Puget Sound Energy’s blatant disregard of public safety.”
"For years, Washington communities have organized and mobilized to demand the rejection of these fracked gas facilities, and today, Governor Inslee listened to those calls,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “The Sierra Club applauds the governor for taking this significant action just one day after signing a bill requiring an equitable transition to 100% clean energy. This is the kind of leadership that is needed to protect families and communities and to keep Washington State on the path towards clean energy."
“We applaud Governor Inslee for his leadership in recognizing that our region has no place for more fracked gas projects as we transition to clean and renewable energy,” says Rebecca Ponzio, Climate and Fossil Fuel Program Director of Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters. “We are committed to protecting communities from new dangerous and dirty fracked gas projects like Tacoma LNG and Kalama Methanol, and we stand in solidarity with the Puyallup Tribe and community members who have led this fight from the beginning, to ensure the strongest possible scrutiny and rejection of these projects.”
“People up and down the Columbia River are celebrating Governor Inslee’s bold action to protect our climate and communities across the Pacific Northwest from the fracked gas industry,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director for Columbia Riverkeeper.
"Health professionals across Washington applaud Gov. Inslee for opposing these harmful projects, which threaten our health and climate,” said Dr. Mark Vossler, cardiologist and President of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “We are hopeful that his office can now take the next step and reject the incomplete environmental reviews for both the Tacoma and Kalama projects.”
“While we celebrate Governor Inslee’s public opposition to LNG we know it takes more than words,” said Val Peaphon of Redefine Tacoma. “We won’t give up or let up until Puget Sound Energy’s fracked gas project is dead. Activism works and we must continue to actively fight fossil fuel greed and domination including methanol and expansion of existing gas and oil industries in the Port.”
“We are so glad that Governor Inslee is ready to embrace best available science around the damage that fracked gas is causing to our planet and to our communities as well as revisiting how these projects are analyzed in future permitting decisions,” said Stacy Oaks, organizer with 350 Seattle. “We hope that input from grassroots organizations and frontline communities are centered in the reevaluation process.”
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.
FAQ on Governor Inslee’s Opposition to NW Innovation Works’ Kalama Methanol Refinery
On May 8, 2019, Governor Inslee announced his opposition to Northwest Innovation Works’ proposed methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington.
What is a methanol refinery?
The Kalama methanol refinery would turn huge amounts of fracked gas (called “natural” gas by the fossil fuel industry) into methanol, which would be shipped to China to be burned as fuel or made into plastic.
Why does Governor Inslee oppose the fracked gas-to-methanol refinery?
Governor Inslee cited the “significant methane leakage associated with gas production” and explained that the methanol refinery’s climate impacts are out of step with Washington’s goals for swiftly addressing climate change. “I cannot in good conscience support . . . a methanol production facility in Kalama,” stated Governor Inslee.
Isn’t fracked gas a “bridge fuel” to a cleaner future?
No. Because of the methane released during fracking and distribution, fracked gas is extremely harmful to our climate. And we don’t have time to shift from one fossil fuel to another. “The age of consequences is upon us,” explained Governor Inslee. “The accelerating threat of climate change and the emerging science on the damaging impacts of natural gas production and distribution mean we must focus our full efforts on developing clean, renewable and fossil-fuel free energy sources.”
What comes next?
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.