Northwest Innovation Works and the Port of Kalama have applied to build a facility in Kalama that would turn natural gas into methanol. The facility would be able to produce 10,000 metric tons of methanol a day and would use 320 million cubic feet of natural gas a day. The company states that methanol would be exported and used for plastic production.
Additional greenhouse gas analysis needed
On Nov. 22, 2019, we notified Cowlitz County, Northwest Innovation Works, and the Port of Kalama that an additional greenhouse gas analysis is necessary before making a final decision on Cowlitz County's permit for the facility.
The first supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared by the applicants and an additional response to our questions on that document did not fully analyze the project's emissions. Both the Washington Shorelines Hearings Board and Cowlitz County Superior Court required more analysis of the project’s emissions.
We've hired a consultant to help with the analysis. We expect to have a draft review this summer, seek public comment for 30 days in late summer, and have the final analysis completed by late fall.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about our decision to undertake additional greenhouse gas analysis for the Northwest Innovation Works – Kalama methanol project.
- Sept. 11, 2019 — Cowlitz County reaffirmed its decision to issue a shoreline conditional use permit for the project.
- Oct. 9, 2019 — Ecology informed Cowlitz County and the project applicants that we needed additional information by Nov. 7, 2019 to complete our review of the permit.
- Nov. 4, 2019 — Cowlitz County responded to Ecology's questions.
Previously, we issued a 401 water quality certification to Northwest Pipeline to build a 3.1-mile pipeline spur that would deliver natural gas to the facility and a 401 water quality certification to Northwest Innovation Works for the facility itself. The Kalama facility would need a construction stormwater permit before construction could begin, as well as an industrial stormwater permit from us.