Northwest Innovation Works – Kalama Manufacturing and Marine Export Facility

Northwest Innovation Works and the Port of Kalama applied to build the Kalama Manufacturing and Marine Export Facility, a facility in Kalama that would turn natural gas into methanol. Ecology has denied a Shoreline Conditional Use permit for this project, based on the significant greenhouse gas emissions from the facility and a determination that the project would be inconsistent with the Shoreline Management Act.

Shoreline Conditional Use permit decision

On Jan. 19, 2021, we notified the Port of Kalama and Northwest Innovation Works of our decision denying a Shoreline Conditional Use permit for the methanol facility proposed by Northwest Innovation Works in Kalama.

An environmental analysis conducted by Ecology found that the proposed facility would be one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in Washington, emitting nearly one million metric tons a year within the state’s borders, and millions of tons more from extracting natural gas, shipping the product to Asia, and final uses of the methanol.

In a decision letter to project applicants, Ecology outlined its reasons for denying the permit, including:

  • Inconsistencies with Washington’s Shoreline Management Act, including significant environmental impacts associated with the increase in greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Conflicts with Cowlitz County’s Shoreline Master Plan, including a failure to demonstrate that the project will not adversely impact the shoreline of the Columbia River;
  • Failure to demonstrate that the public interest will be protected from detrimental effects from the project;
  • The project could prevent the state from meeting new greenhouse gas limits set in 2020 by the Legislature, which require both deeper cuts in emissions and to make those cuts more quickly in order to protect our state from the worst effects of climate change; and
  • The proposed mitigation for the facility’s in-state emissions could use out-of-state offsets, meaning it would not contribute to Washington’s statutory limits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 95% by 2050.

Public comment and hearings

We held a public comment period on the draft SSEIS Sept. 2 through Oct. 9, 2020, and held four public meetings to solicit input on the draft document. There will not be a public comment period on the final Second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

You can review the presentations below:

Permitting actions

  • Jan. 19, 2021 – Ecology notifies the Port of Kalama and Northwest Innovation Works of its decision to deny a Shoreline Conditional Use permit for the project. 
  • Dec. 21, 2020 – Ecology releases final Second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
  • Sept. 2, 2020 – Ecology releases draft Second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for public review and comment.
  • Nov. 4, 2019 – Cowlitz County responded to Ecology's questions.
  • 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.
  • Sept. 11, 2019 — Cowlitz County reaffirmed its decision to issue a shoreline conditional use permit for the project.

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.

Related information

External information