Thursday, October 28, 2021
Oct. 28, 2021

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Group wants methanol pipeline permits revoked

Certificates still active for portion of Kalama project


KALAMA — While the Kalama methanol plant project is canceled, permits are still active for a three-mile pipeline meant to supply the plant with methanol. Columbia Riverkeeper requested those permits be revoked.

The Williams Companies 24-inch diameter pipeline would have brought natural gas to the plant from its larger pipelines. According to the project website, Northwest Innovation Works and Williams’ Northwest Pipeline signed a pre-construction agreement and in 2014 filed a pipeline application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted the certificate of public convenience and necessity in April 2016, and the pipeline was slated to be in service by April 2022, pending the proper permits, according to the pipeline website.

However, Riverkeeper Staff Attorney Erin Saylor wrote in an Aug. 4 letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that “a significant change in circumstances has occurred since the certificate was issued” — the June 11 cancellation of the methanol project.

Northwest Innovation Works terminated its lease agreement with the Port of Kalama and withdrew after the plant was mired in permit and legal battles for years.

“Since the sole customer for the proposed pipeline has terminated its proposed project, there is no longer a need for the Kalama Lateral Pipeline and, thus, the certificate of public convenience and necessity for the pipeline should be cancelled,” Saylor wrote.

Williams Companies did not return a request for comment.

The $2.3 billion methanol plant was first proposed in 2014, but was denied several key permits by the state and faced legal opposition from environmental groups.