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May 19, 2022

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Methanol plant review will include emissions

Port of Kalama permits stand pending review


KALAMA (AP) — A Cowlitz County judge on Tuesday said an environmental review of a proposed $2 billion methanol refining project must include a full analysis of potential greenhouse gas emissions.

But Superior Court Judge James Warning also let stand two permits for the project at the Port of Kalama pending that review.

Northwest Innovation Works wants to build a refinery that would produce up to 10,000 metric tons a day of methanol from natural gas piped in from North American sources. The methanol would be sent to China to make plastics and other goods.

In September, a state shoreline hearings board ruled that Cowlitz County and the Port of Kalama failed to fully analyze the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from the project, including emissions from off-site sources. And the board invalidated two shoreline permits.

A supplemental environmental review is already underway, said Mark Wilson, Port of Kalama executive director. “We look forward to having a thorough study completed in an expeditious manner.”

Northwest Innovation Works general counsel Kent Caputo said Tuesday that “we think the judge’s order to restore our permit and narrow the focus of additional review provides just the opportunity to work through what differences may remain.”

Environmental groups said Tuesday that accounting for full carbon emissions will reveal the true environmental costs of the project.

“Regulators can’t ignore the refinery’s threat to our climate, as well as the air and water that people and endangered species rely on to survive,” said Jared Margolis, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

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