Washington state in US denies permit for methanol plant

Author: Al Greenwood


HOUSTON (ICIS)--The Washington Department of Ecology denied a permit for a proposed methanol plant in that state's town of Kalama.

The department denied issuing the shoreline-conditional-use permit because of concerns about greenhouse-gas emissions, it said. As a result, Washington state could fail to meet its greenhouse-gas targets that were set by its legislature.

The plant is being developed by Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW). The methanol would be used in China’s methanol-to-olefins (MTO) plants.

The company said it is evaluating its options for an immediate appeal. "We feel confident that science and reason will prevail," said Kent Caputo, the company's general counsel.

The plant was announced in 2014. Cowlitz county and the port of Kalama completed a supplemental environmental impact statement in 2019 after a court ruled that its initial one was inadequate to be used for deciding on the shoreline permit.

The Department of Ecology said that the supplemental statement was insufficient, so it took it upon itself to conduct a second supplemental environmental impact statement.

That second supplemental statement led the department to deny the shoreline permit.

NWIW has 21 days to appeal the department's decision.

In a statement, Vee Godley, chief development officer, said, “Given the strong scientific findings and multiple reviews over the last six years, it is difficult to understand why the original vision for both economic and environmental security has been bypassed."

Caputo added, "This project has been the subject of three independent environmental assessments. All scientific reviews report that the project creates a net environmental benefit for our planet."