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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ruling invalidates key permits for Kalama methanol project

SEATTLE – A state hearings board has invalidated key permits issued to a nearly $2 billion project in Washington state that would convert natural gas to methanol.

The board reversed two shoreline permits for the Northwest Innovation Works project proposed along the Columbia River in Kalama.

It said Cowlitz County and the Port of Kalama failed to fully analyze the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from the project, including emissions from offsite sources. The board sent it back to them for further analysis.

Columbia Riverkeeper, Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, which challenged the environmental review, cheered Friday’s decision.

Northwest Innovation Works President Vee Godley said the company is disappointed. He said in an emailed statement that the environmental review relied on guidance from the Department of Ecology.

The refinery would convert natural gas to methanol, which would be shipped to China to make plastics and other consumer goods.