Breaking News, October 9, 2019

Washington Department of Ecology Finds Kalama Methanol Refinery Review Incomplete, Seeks Information on Spurious Carbon Claims

By: Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition

Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition

October 9, 2019, (Lacey, WA)—Today, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) put a permit decision on hold for a massive fracked gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama, WA, stating the company behind the refinery provided insufficient information about its carbon footprint and environmental impact. Ecology questioned Northwest Innovation Works’ claims regarding greenhouse gases and asked for a comprehensive and thorough analysis of the project’s global and in-state carbon impact, including an assessment of burning the methanol as fuel. In April, leaked documents showed that the company was promoting methanol for fuel to potential investors, despite telling regulators the methanol would never be burned.

“Ecology is holding NWIW accountable,” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director with Columbia Riverkeeper and co-director of the Power Past Fracked Gas coalition. “NWIW has proposed the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery on the Columbia River, telling Washington regulators it will mysteriously help the help our climate. Ecology is following the law and seeking complete and accurate information before deciding on a permit of such importance.”

“Burning this refinery’s methanol as fuel would emit an additional five million tons of carbon per year to an already stunning amount of methane emissions and slow the transition to clean-energy vehicles,” said Cambria Keely, a 17 year-old student activist from Kalama. “We urge Washington’s climate leaders to ultimately deny this polluting proposal.”

“Asking tough questions is a good step,” said Linda Leonard, a Kalama resident. “But we aren’t going to rest until Washington nixes this climate disaster. The future of our community depends on it.”

“From its safety hazards to disastrous climate impacts, this refinery would seriously threaten human health,” said Dr. Mark Vossler, a cardiologist and the President of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Health professionals applaud Ecology’s careful review of this project, and we will continue to press Washington leaders to reject this dangerous fracked gas refinery.”

“The urgency of our climate crisis demands the highest level of scrutiny, and we cannot allow massive new fracked gas projects to move forward based on misleading evaluation,” says Joan Crooks, CEO of Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters. “Today’s action underscores the importance of that.”

“Ignoring the massive impact this fracked gas-to-methanol refinery would have on our climate won’t make it go away, and we’re glad to see Ecology demand answers,” said Sept Gernez, Organizer with the Sierra Club Washington State Chapter. “We are counting on them to protect our communities by rejecting this dirty and dangerous proposal once and for all.”

Methanol refinery proponents have a November 7th deadline to provide the missing information.

Click here for a video of youth asking Ecology to deny Kalama Methanol.


Dan Serres, Co-Director, Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition, 503-890-2441
Damon Motz-Storey, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 303-913-5634

Timeline of NWIW’s Methanol Proposals:


Power Past Fracked Gas is a growing coalition of Pacific Northwest health, environmental, faith, and community groups that believe in the power of clean energy and the value of clean water. We oppose new fracked gas infrastructure that locks our region into decades of continued reliance on dirty energy and harmful projects.