Kalama Methanol Analysis Released

It’s Here! New Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Kalama Methanol Refinery

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) released a new Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to address the climate impacts of the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery, proposed in Kalama, WA. 

Ecology’s new analysis reveals what the project’s backers have long denied: that the refinery would cause more methanol to be burned as fuel in China and result in significant methane pollution from fracking. The methanol refinery would quickly become one of Washington’s most significant sources of climate-changing pollution and use more fracked gas than all of Washington’s gas-fired power plants, combined.

Unfortunately, Ecology’s study also relies on speculative mitigation and an unenforceable market analysis to prop up this dirty, climate-wrecking proposal.

Now is the time to weigh in against this fracked gas project!

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This is an important moment to protect Kalama and our climate. How can you weigh in?

What is the Kalama Methanol Refinery project?

  • The fracked gas industry wants to build the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama, WA. The proposed refinery would consume a staggering amount of fracked gas, more than all of Washington’s gas-fired power plants combined. The project would convert the fracked gas to methanol, which would be shipped overseas to be burned as fuel or used as feedstock to make plastics. Ecology is releasing a new draft SEIS that evaluates the greenhouse gas pollution of Northwest Innovation Works’ (NWIW) proposed refinery and pipeline. 
  • The climate consequences of the Kalama methanol refinery are enormous. Ecology’s draft study explains that the refinery would cause a staggarting 4.6 million tons of climate pollution every year for forty years. Reports from the Stockholm Environment Institute and Sightline Institute also show that the Kalama methanol refinery would contribute to a significant global increase in greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions would undercut Washington’s efforts to move towards a clean energy economy.
  • Governor Inslee publicly opposes the Kalama methanol refinery, explaining: “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.”
  • The Kalama project will drive fracking and methane pollution. Because of its enormous demand for fracked gas, NWIW’s proposed methanol refinery in Kalama would be responsible for increased fracking and the methane pollution that fracking causes. Because methane escapes during the fracking process, this “upstream” pollution will exceed one million tons of greenhouse gas pollution each year, using even the most conservative estimates of methane leakage.
  • Combustion of methanol from the Kalama project will lead to a large “downstream” source of greenhouse gas pollution. Although NWIW tried for years to claim that no one would ever burn the methanol produced in Kalama, Ecology’s draft study shows that the Kalama methanol refinery would lead to more methanol being burned as fuel in China.