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There's lots of ways to help out!
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Tell the Governor!
Governor Inslee withdrew his support for NWIW’s Tacoma Plant after residents spoke out, and NWIW subsequently withdrew their entire Tacoma proposal and left town!
Mail Letters to:
Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002
Here are some talking points to consider:
Northwest Innovation Works LLC (“NWIW”), a new company backed by the Chinese government, wants to build the world’s largest natural gas-to-methanol refinery at the Port of Kalama, Washington.
- Experts estimate a 42% likelihood of a severe earthquake in the Pacific Northwest within the next 50 years, so the proposed methanol refinery could experience a very large earthquake. The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) explains that the soil beneath the dock and refinery is at “moderate to high” risk of liquefying in an earthquake.
- NWIW’s methanol refinery would consume gas extracted by fracking, and conventional drilling, in Canada and the Rocky Mountains. Extracting gas, especially by fracking, can cause local air pollution, groundwater contamination, and localized earthquakes. Fracking can also release significant amounts of methane—a potent greenhouse gas—into the atmosphere.
- Methanol is a clear, colorless, water-soluble liquid. It is flammable and considered a hazardous substance. Methanol releases to the environment present an inhalation risk in enclosed areas, explosion and fire risks, and potential toxicity to plants and animals located near the source of a release. Methanol burns clear and fires can be difficult to detect until someone sees heat waves or personally feels the extreme temperatures.
- NWIW’s facility would draw roughly 4.8 million gallons of groundwater each day from a new Ranney well near the Columbia River shoreline. The well would not draw water directly from the Columbia, but from an aquifer that is “hydrologically connected directly to the Columbia River.” Recent hot water induced fish kills on the Columbia should caution us from adding additional strains to the Columbia River water system.
- Williams Pipeline—the company that is ultimately in charge of the Kalama Lateral natural gas pipeline—has a track record of worker safety problems, environmental violations, and pipeline failures and leaks. In the past decade alone, Williams and its subsidiary companies have been responsible for dozens of leaks, explosions, and safety violations. The Williams Northwest pipeline exploded in Castle Rock in 1995 and again in 1997 in Kalama. Another Williams pipeline exploded two years later in the town of North Bonneville.
- Williams plans to use eminent domain to build the Kalama Lateral.
Display a sign!
Put up a yard sign and/or join neighbors in a Rush Hour No Methanol Greeting Team flying and sign waving in Kalama. Email Jasmine at columbiariverkeeper dot org to get a yard sign, and see our event calendar for the next sign waving event.
- Include your name, city and state of residence and a phone number for verification purposes.
- Keep it short – 150 to 200 words is ideal. (175 word max for The Daily News, 200 for The Columbian)
- Focus on 1 or 2 key arguments.
- If possible, use a story to illustrate how this issue personally affects you or reference a recent news article.
- Explain how this issue impacts not just you, but your entire community.
- If you will be attending the port meeting or city council meeting, please include that in your letter. For example: Invite people to attend the port meeting on XYZ date.
- Have your friends write their own letters to the editor! The more letters they receive, the more we make it clear that the entire community is against this proposal.
Here are some key talking points. Choose which are most important to you.
- High explosion risk: an explosion could shatter windows within a 6 mile radius.
- NWIW is a new company, who has never done this before. This process of refining methanol has never been done on this scale: we are guinea pigs.
- Eminent domain: the project includes a 24 inch pipeline. The pipeline would go through private property and a public cemetery district, and will seize this property through eminent domain. Eminent domain is defined as: the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation. This pipeline will not benefit the public. It will help a Chinese company make profit at our expense.
- Pollution: harmful levels of particulate matter, and toxic air pollution will come from this project. Particulate matter are particles so small, that they can be inhaled. They cause damage to our respiratory systems, especially in children and the elderly.
- The Columbia River: The refinery could kill aquatic life in two ways: Firstly by discharging warm water into the Columbia, harming salmon. Secondly, there is a high spill risk. Up to 300,000 gallons of methanol could be spilled into the Columbia. This would deplete surface water of oxygen and kill aquatic life.
- Visual impacts: plumes of smoke could extend thousands of yards into the air, and the refinery would include a 245 foot tall flare stack. The flame would burn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and would be the tallest structure in Kalama.
- Water usage: the refinery would use up to 4.8 million gallons of water per day. This would be extracted from a well close to the Columbia river, effectively extracting water from the river. With our continuous state of drought, this raises concern.
- Public funding for private gains: the refinery would seize publicly funded cemetery district property. The port of Kalama has also applied for an $11 million grant from the federal department of transportation. This money would be used to build a new dock, and the only current beneficiary of that dock is NWIW.