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

Fracked gas-to-methanol refineries

A company called Northwest Innovation Works proposed building two of the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refineries in Kalama, Wash., and Port Westward, Ore. Not so fast. 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 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 accounting for “upstream” methane leakage and “downstream” combustion of the methanol.

Kalama methanol refinery

Communities came together and defeated a massive fossil fuel export terminal! In 2021, state and federal regulators denied key permits for Northwest Innovation Works—the culmination of seven years of grassroots community organizing and legal advocacy. The project would have emitted a stunning 5 million tons of greenhouse gas annually to ship a petrochemical overseas to make plastics or burn as a dirty fuel. Residents throughout the region submitted over 25,000 public comments and petitions about the proposed methanol refinery to government officials. Here’s a snapshot of the road to victory:

Without the necessary state and federal permits, this climate-wrecking proposal no longer threatens our climate or the Columbia. 

Port Westward, Ore., Methanol Refinery and Rezone

Northwest Innovation Works signed a lease option with the Port of Columbia County, Ore., 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 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. But it gets worse. 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. So 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. 


Amidst strong opposition and legal defeats, developers end pursuit of world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery.


Kalama Music Video: Kalama Speaks Up:

Climate Youth Activists Speak Out Against Kalama Methanol:

Dylan Haviv, age 10:

Cambria Keely, age 17:

Caroline Ceravolo, age 15:



Thin Green Line Series KBOO
KBOO Radio
February 1, 2021

"The Impending Demise of the World's Largest Methanol Refinery"

Seattle Times
January 19, 2021

"Washington state Ecology Department rejects permit for Kalama methanol plant on Columbia River"

No Methanol Mural by Audie Fuller, Kalama, WA
December 31, 2020

"Why the Kalama methanol refinery would hurt the Yakama tribe"

Letter to the SEC
February 12, 2020

"Columbia Riverkeeper Wants SEC To Investigate Kalama Methanol Project"

November 13, 2019

"A small Washington town may build the world's largest methanol plant, but do locals want it?"

AP News methanol article
AP News
November 12, 2019

"Lawsuit aims to kill stalled $2B methanol refinery project"

Thin Green Line Series KBOO
Holding the Thin Green Line
Fall 2019

"The World’s Largest Methanol Refinery & Part Two: A View from the Blast Zone"

Kalama methanol aerial
October 5, 2019

"Washington Petrochemical Plant Subsidies Would Violate Federal ‘Double Dipping’ Rules"

No Methanol Activists in Olympia, WA
Portland Business Journal
September 13, 2019

"Controversial Kalama methanol plant gets county OK"

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

"State lawmaker touts Kalama methanol plant — and works for company that’s trying to get it built"

OPB News
April 19, 2019

"Controversial Kalama Methanol Plant May Be Misleading Public, Regulators"

PS Magazine photo at Port of Kalama
Pacific Standard Magazine
November 7, 2018

"Taxpayers May Soon Be On The Hook For A $2 Billion Fracked Gas Refinery"

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

Columbia Riverkeeper’s comments on permits:

Blog posts, press releases, and information: