On June 23, Riverkeeper petitioned the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) to take responsibility for permitting and reviewing the proposed methanol refinery and export terminal in Kalama, Washington. Converting natural gas into methanol for export is a brand new industry in Washington, with state-wide energy implications. The proposed methanol refinery deserves the level of state-wide scrutiny and public input that EFSEC provides.

Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW), a company controlled by the Chinese government, seeks to take advantage of Washington’s cheap natural gas, water, and electricity to manufacture methanol for export to China. NWIW’s proposal would include a 90-acre methanol refinery at the Port of Kalama, a massive new dock and dredging in the lower Columbia River, and a 3.1-mile pipeline through a pioneer cemetery and residential properties in Cowlitz County.

The methanol refinery would use gas extracted through hydraulic fracking, generate hazardous air pollution, and consume millions of gallons of groundwater every day.