We are fighting to stop the world’s largest proposed fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery.

Fracked-gas-to-methanol refineries

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, WA and Port Westward, OR. 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.  

NW Innovation Works methanol refinery

Local and regional opposition to the massive Kalama, WA, methanol refinery, and the associated Kalama Lateral fracked gas pipeline, remains strong. Residents throughout the region have submitted over 25,000 public comments and petitions  about the proposed methanol refinery to government officials. In a major blow to the proposal, in May 2019 Governor Inslee changed course, announcing he “cannot in good conscience support” the refinery due to its climate impacts.  
What's next? In summer or fall 2019, local officials will release a new Environmental Impact Statement to address the methanol refinery’s climate pollution. The new environmental review comes in response to Washington’s Shorelines Hearings Board and the Cowlitz County court ruling that the Port of Kalama and Cowlitz County violated the law by failing to disclose the greenhouse gas pollution that the methanol refinery would cause. Check out more details on the proposed refinery below.

TAKE ACTION: Protect Our Climate

Tell the Washington Department of Ecology to say “No!” to a climate disaster: a proposal for the world’s largest fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama, WA.



Kalama methanol aerial
Letter: Reject Kalama refinery
September 12, 2019

"As a resident of Kalama, I am concerned for the health and safety of the citizens in this community from the risks resulting from the proposed largest fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery in the world being built on the shoreline of the Columbia River."

No Methanol Activists in Olympia, WA
Controversial Kalama methanol plant gets county OK
September 13, 2019

“Ecology has a clear choice: protect our climate and the Columbia River, or authorize a climate-wrecking fracked gas-to-methanol refinery”
-Dan Serres, Columbia Riverkeeper

No Methanol Mural by Audie Fuller, Kalama, WA
Letter: Methanol produced by Kalama plant is bad whether it’s burned or made into plastic
August 19, 2019

"Whether the methanol produced at the Kalama plant is made into plastic, or is burned as a transportation fuel, it is bad either way." -Don Steinke

“No Methanol Land and Water Action Community Camp-Out” May 18, 2019, photo by Dan Serres.
Seattle Times Report on Kalama Methanol
June 3, 2019

Rejecting donations from the fossil fuel industry is the new litmus test of politicians. But Representative DeBolt is literally on the payroll of a fossil fuel corporation. 

Controversial Kalama Methanol Plant May Be Misleading Public, Regulators
April 19, 2019

“This is certainly the most concrete piece of evidence that they really do consider this a fossil fuel export project”

PS Magazine photo at Port of Kalama
Taxpayers May Soon Be On The Hook For A $2 Billion Fracked Gas Refinery
November 7, 2018

"Northwest Innovation Works Promises To Bring Jobs To Rural Washington—But At What Cost?"


Watch this video "Protect the Columbia from the world's largest methanol refinery":

Port Westward, OR, methanol refinery and rezone

Northwest Innovation Works signed a lease option with the Port of Columbia County, OR, to build a methanol refinery at the Port Westward property near the town of Clatskanie. The methanol refinery at Port Westward would mirror the Kalama proposal. The company has not filed permit applications. A likely roadblock for the proposal is the amount of available industrial land at Port Westward. Riverkeeper is working with farmers and Columbia County, OR, residents to fight a controversial effort to open over 800 acres of high-quality farmland near Port Westward for industrial development, including methanol and oil-by-rail terminals. We stopped the proposal before. Now we need your help to put this bad idea to bed forever. Learn more about Riverkeeper’s efforts to protect Port Westward.

Beyond Kalama and Port Westward:
methanol refineries mean more fracked gas and more pipelines

Riverkeeper is collaborating with local residents to oppose the world’s largest fracked-gas-to-methanol refineries proposed in Kalama, WA, and Port Westward, OR. But Riverkeeper is also exposing how these massive methanol refinery proposals would increase our region’s consumption of fracked gas and drive construction of massive new gas pipelines into the Pacific Northwest.

Why is fracked gas such a big deal? It is mostly methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Fracked gas fuels climate change and stands in the way of clean energy. Thus far, the methanol company has not explained how the Northwest's limited gas pipeline system could supply the methanol refineries. Gas companies could propose a major new pipeline into the Northwest to supply the methanol refineries. 

Columbia Riverkeeper’s comments on permits:

Blog posts, press releases, and information: