NEWS & ARCHIVES & HISTORICAL LINKS/INFO

11/12 Columbia Riverkeeper (with SC, CBD, WEC, WaPSR, all represented by Earthjustice) filed Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in U.S. Federal District Court challenging pre-EIS permit approvals.

11/4 Cowlitz County responded to Dept. of Ecology's request for more info on two key GHG issues in FSEIS basically reiterating what they already submitted, refusing to add detail as requested, and oddly writing in a derogatory dismissive tone. See CRK's press release with good linked history of projects. Ecology can stop this refinery in its tracks! Tell Ecology to DENY the shorelines permits and REJECT the Kalama methanol refinery for good.

10/9 Dept. of Ecology halts their review of shorelines permits and remands FSEIS back to Cowlitz County for additional information. Two key issues of concern that are deemed inadequate: GHG emissions analysis [App A | App B] and GHG mitigation plan [App C]. Deadline Nov. 7th to supply the requested missing details. Then Ecology will have 30-days to determine if the project meets state health, safety, and environmental standards.

9/16 Port of Kalama applied for a Port Infrastructure Development Grant which would be in addition to the $11.5M USDOT grant for building a dock for NWIW's methanol export terminal. DeSmog Blog reports Washington Petrochemical Plant Subsidies Would Violate Federal ‘Double Dipping’ Rules Say Environmental Groups.

9/11 Cowlitz County completes their review of FSEIS and re-approves two key shorelines permits, SDP and CUP. That starts 30-day clock for WA Dept. of Ecology to decide if refinery meets state health, safety, and environmental standards.

9/5 JOBS for Cowlitz County? NO! H-1B Visas to Chinese workers. NWIW says their refinery will provide jobs to the people of Cowlitz County. However, recent revelations show Pan-Pacific Corp, one of NWIW's parent companies, applied for four H-1B visas for the facility. An H-1B visa is intended for specialty workers who are in the U.S. temporarily (3-6 years).

8/30 Final Supplemental EIS released. [FSEIS | SEPA for all docs].

8/26 Methanol's end use is as fuel per CASH Chairman. Wu Lebin, the Chairman of C.A.S.H. (Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings, the financial end of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who own NWIW) continues to advertise to investors that Kalama methanol's end use will be, "as a transportation fuel for cars and ships." despite NWIW's "promise" (see Dock Use Amendment) it will only be used for plastic production (not that we want more single-use plastics either). Lebin's bio for his session at upcoming Nov. 2019 investors conference says NWIW will use ULE process to convert North American gas to methanol to provide China with fuel. The FSEIS states if the methanol is burned as fuel then it adds 5.4 million tons bringing the total to a staggering 12 million tons of carbon pollution emitted to the atmosphere every year.

More NWIW greenwashing. NWIW's GHG mitigation plan. On 7/30 Columbia Riverkeeper sent comments to WA Dept. Ecology regarding NWIW's 5/30 GHG mitigation plan that only addresses a fraction of the GHG pollution. On 7/31 CRK senior attorney summarized the situation Greenwashing fossil fuel export? We won’t stand for it.

NWIW applied for $11.5M federal BUILD grant. U.S. taxpayers should not pay for construction of dock for Chinese government-controlled company's benefit. [UPDATE: BUILD grant denied, again, Nov. 12.]

June 13, 2019: Port of Kalama and NWIW Amend Dock Usage Lease Agreement to "assure" Chinese government controlled NWIW only sells methanol to entities that will not burn it as fuel. Of course this is impossible to police, once methanol leaves U.S. shores we have no control over to whom it is sold or how it is used. Desperate move intended to skirt true accounting of GHG emissions, sidestep SEPA analysis, and avoid FERC oversight.

June 3, 2019: State Representative Richard DeBolt, (R) LD-20, has serious conflict of interest. While serving in the WA Congress he also earns 6-figure salary as NWIW's Executive of External Relations thus having influence over permits NWIW needs to build its methanol refinery. Seattle Times: State lawmaker touts Kalama methanol plant — and works for company that’s trying to get it built. In fact DeBolt lists NWIW as his main job on his Linked-In page [GIF version] making his service to the people in the 20th district a mere afterthought. DeBolt is officially an agent of Chinese government - violating his oath of office -- not working in best interest of Cowlitz County.

May 18, 2019: No Methanol Land and Water Rally & Community Picnic About 125 people on land and 50 people in kayaks on the Kalama River rallied against Kalama methanol at Camp Kalama, the closest non-industrial business to the proposed refinery. Speakers, music, food! A great success thanks to the activists, local and otherwise especially those who drove down from Seattle/Tacoma or up from S. Oregon. A special shout-out to our hosts Camp Kalama, Columbia Riverkeeper, and Sierra Club.

May 8, 2019: Gov. Inslee opposes Kalama methanol refinery and Tacoma LNG! This is huge as he oversees Washington Dept. of Ecology who have permitting authority over the project. Thank-you Gov. Inslee for being our climate champ :) Inslee announces opposition to two gas projects in Washington after originally supporting both projects. He now says, "I am no longer convinced that locking in these multi-decade infrastructure projects are sufficient to accomplishing what's necessary." What does this mean for our cause? See FAQs from Columbia Riverkeeper.

April 19, 2019: Kalama methanol is to be burned as fuel. Proof! NWIW lies exposed. The purpose of this project is to sell the methanol to be burned as fuel, not solely or even mostly for use in producing plastics. This fact greatly increases the lifecycle GHG emissions. NWIW knew this from the beginning while blatantly lying to the public, state regulators, and permitting agencies. News broke 4/19 by Oregon Public Broadcasting OPB: Controversial Kalama Methanol Plant May Be Misleading Public, Regulators (includes audio, 5 min.). Their story was based on a presentation NWIW gave to investors as recently as Jan. 2019: NWIW's "GTM Investment Overview" presentation to investors, March 2018. Prior to this bombshell find, evidence of NWIW's lack of transparency regarding methanol-to-olefin (MTO) vs. methanol as transportation fuel had been mounting, see links below. This is important not only because it significantly changes GHG emission estimates provided in the EIS currently under review, but also could qualify the project for an EFSEC (Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council) review, for which methanol opponents have called all along. (Columbia Riverkeeper filed petition for EFSEC review in 2016, but it was denied.) By the way, GTM (named for gas-to-methanol, no really!) is a shell company for NWIW, sharing all the same executives.

February 2019: We joined forces with Power Past Fracked Gas holding a rally on the steps of the capitol building in Olympia on 2/21. 143,592 public comments opposing huge fracked gas projects (particularly Kalama methanol refinery and Tacoma LNG facility) were delivered to Governor Inslee's office. Guest speakers from around the state joined about 100 climate activists in protest. Related news stories and audio/videos include:

December 2018: Busy month. DSEIS 30-day comment period included community information forum, comment writing workshop, Folly of Frack play, rally and public hearing, multiple LTEs, and sign-waving.

Court-ordered mandate was for SEIS to provide accurate estimates of lifecycle GHG emissions (ie, from well head to refinery to end use). DSEIS grossly underestimates climate damage and claims refinery has "net benefit" to climate. However it uses cherry-picked data (eg, outlier percentage on methane leakage rates) and outdated reports.

Official comments on DSEIS were submitted by:

Hearing (*) on 12/13 was attended by over 1000 people. 74% of those who were allowed to speak were against the refinery. 200+ participated in the pre-hearing Power Past Fracked Gas rally. 25,000 written comments were submitted in opposition to the refinery. DSEIS-related news stories and audio/video include:

* Note: This hearing was billed as "public" hearing but nobody was allowed into the room unless they provided Cowlitz County and the Port of Kalama their full name and contact information. That violates the open public hearing act. If you left the room you were told you had to line up again! Line took at least 45 minutes to get through. Complaints made Dec. 2018 to WA State Auditor were, June 2019, dismissed since it was NOT a "public" hearing. Note every page of the testimony transcript says "public hearing". They can't have it both ways! Also, the huge gas heater in our rally facility on site had broken regulator, was leaking propane, very strong odor, extremely dangerous. Maintenance spurned our request for help. (We have documentation!)

November 2018: DSEIS released mid-November brought new talking points and infographics, phone banking parties and letter writing workshops. The U.S. 4th National Climate Assessment released by the White House on Black Friday described more horrific news on the climate crisis front bolstering our perseverance and determination.

October 2018: The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published IPCC Special Report: global warming of 1.5° that confirms the dire need to stop using fossil fuels immediately, including fracked gas. CRK and LCSC co-hosted a community forum on the massive PCF anhydrous ammonia plant proposed in Longview. Final recommendations were made regarding Cowlitz County's Health Impact Assessment (HIA) that could have consequences well beyond the main focus on the Millennium Bulk Coal Terminal.

On 10/8 we helped run a Community Forum on Proposed Fracked Gas to Anhydrous Ammonia Plant in Longview hosted by CRK and LCSC. On 10/31 the No Methanol BOO-th at the Halloween event in downtown Kalama handed out thousands of candies and info flyers to Kalama youth.

Summer 2018: Summer events included booth with LCSC at Go 4th in Longview, Folly of Frack play, booth at Kalama Fair, walk in Kalama Chamber of Commerce Parade, No Methanol Mural Reveal, silent protest to get Inslee's attention at Port of Vancouver rail ribbon cutting event, National Night Out community event, Picnic along the Pipeline, canvassing at the Untouchables Car Show, making of "No Methanol" movie clip for People's Climate Movement Day of Action, more!

May 2018: Another victory in the fight against fracking and fossil fuel export! On May 8th the Cowlitz County Superior Court upheld the Washington Shorelines Hearings Board’s decision that the Port of Kalama and Cowlitz County broke the law by failing to disclose and evaluate greenhouse gas pollution from the proposed Kalama methanol refinery. However, it was not all good news for our side as he also reinstated the two key permits, pending the new SEIS. Keep the pressure on Gov. Inslee to protect our climate and go 100% renewable now!

starCowlitz County Superior Court Affirms Port Broke Law by Ignoring GHG Pollution 5/8/2018

Related News Articles:

- Columbian: Methanol plant review will include emissions
- TDN: Judge restores methanol permits, but rules environmental review inadequate
- Sustainable Life: Massive fossil fuel export plant proposed in Kalama faces setback in court

Port of Kalama must now choose: appeal court decision, admit true environmental cost of methanol refining and export; or abandon this dirty fossil fuel project as NWIW did in Tacoma when faced with strong public outcry.

March 2018: Scoping comment period during February was a grand success! 19,000 comments received, 100 new yard signs in 3 weeks, 250 people attended one of four public information meetings, 10+ letters to the editor, solid editorial from the Columbian (Conundrum in Kalama), phone banking to 500 people, and 11 organizations representing local, regional, national, and tribal concerns signed on to the technical scoping comments.

PSR's 2018 Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking was released showing the rapidly expanding evidence indicating harm to health from fracking and methane infrastructure.

February 2018: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Report on GHG emissions from Kalama methanol refinery. [Press Release | CRK Blog Post]

- EcoWatch: Fracked Gas Project Could Undermine Washington’s Clean Energy Goals

January 2018 "Climate Countdown Day 1" rally in Olympia with like-minded groups.

December 2017 "No Methanol" Lighted Sign Waving at Festival of Lighted Boats.

- TDN: Cowlitz County joins lawsuit over methanol permit decision
- TDN: Port of Kalama challenges reversal of methanol permits
- AP News via Washington Times: Port of Kalama appeals order nixing methanol project permits
- AP News via Tacoma News Tribune: Kalama port to do environmental review of methanol plant

September 2017: State Shorelines Board rules two key permits invalid! Orders EIS must include all GHG emissions upstream and downstream, ie. from "well-to-wheel".

State Shorelines Board Rules Fracked Gas-to-Methanol Refinery Permit Invalid

Summary judgment in our favour:

Shorelines Hearing Board Summary Judgment Order 9/15/2017

Related News Articles:

- AP News: Permits Invalidated for Big Washington State Methanol Plant
- Columbian: Finn (Woodland Mayor) "disappointed" about methanol plant permits
- Olympian: Physicians oppose methanol refinery
- OPB: Ruling Invalidates Key Permits For Proposed Wash. Methanol Plant
- Reflector: State rescinds Kalama methanol plant permits
- Seattle Times: Board hits brakes on $1.8 billion methanol plant planned for Kalama
- Tacoma News Tribune: Year after Tide-flats methanol plant canceled, permits for Kalama version invalidated
- TDN: State board nixes Kalama methanol permits

June 2017 We made national news! Truthout: Climate Activists in Pacific Northwest Fight Construction of World’s Largest Methanol Refinery

May 2017 Rally and Press Conference at WA Dept of Ecology, east Vancouver.

April 2017 Delivering donated food to Kalama Helping Hands and "Explained - Climate Impacts from the World's Largest Methanol Refinery" events throughout the state. Also, Protect the Columbia Day of Action & Boat Parade.

January 2017 Hearing on the air discharge permit for methanol refinery, rally and eagle release, and shorelines permit hearing.

December 2016 Sign Waving on the rail overpass at Festival of Lighted Boats.

November 2016 Cowlitz County Planning Commission Special Meeting on the Shoreline Master Program Update and three Methanol Refining and Export Forums (Vancouver, Kalama, Longview).

October 2016 Tabling at coal hearing at Cowlitz Expo Center and at Halloween in downtown Kalama. CRK filed a "precautionary appeal" of the FEIS on Oct. 19th.

September 2016 Rally at Toteff Park & "Overpass" March to Port of Kalama, Sept. 14th. Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) released Sept. 30th.

August 2016 Methanol Explosion Risks & Eminent Domain Workshop at the Kalama Community Center. Related Docs: ALOHA Explosion Risk Analysis by Dr. Alastair Roxburgh at Northwest Citizen Science Initiative (NWCSI) and response by AcuTech for NWIW. We also ran an information booth and flyering at the Untouchables Classic Car Show.

July 2016 Letter-to-the-Editor Writing Party and Mailer Assembly Party.

June 2016 Well attended meeting of the cemetery board with William's Pipeline famous for local activist Diane Dick being told the board can't answer her well-formed question because the answer would go "over your head little lady." Ha! Also "Family Fun BBQ" at the Kalama totem pole park.

May 2016 Josh Fox joins us to present his movie "How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change" and discussion at the Kalama Veterans Hall.

April 2016 NWIW walks away from their methanol refinery in Tacoma! First major organizing meeting of the grassroots organization "Clean Air Kalama" held at the Vande Krol home 1/3 mile from the proposed refinery.

March 2016: The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released. On March 22nd an estimated 800 people attended the public hearing on the DEIS held at the Kalama High School and 3000 comments on the DEIS were received by Columbia Riverkeeper (CRK). The CRK informational presentation on the methanol refinery 2 days prior was where many of us first became actively involved in the fight.

August 2015: Gov. Inslee comes to Kalama and touts that methanol refineries will "boost our clean energy future".

Nov/Dec 2014: Public "scoping" comment period.

January 2014: Port of Kalama announces NWIW's plans for "twin" methanol refineries in Kalama WA and Clatskanie OR at a regular port commission meeting with no fanfare..

2019-08 Presentation by Fidalgo Democrats (NW WA) "In the Shadow of Danger: Refinery Workers, Communities, Ecosystems"

 

2018-06 Webinar from Food and Water Action "Plastics, Pipelines, Fracking and Our Planet"

 

2018-03 Webinar from Physicians for Social Responsibility "Methane Pipelines: Dangers to Health"

 

The Pacific NW is the Thin Green Line. WA, OR, and B.C. must stand strong together against big oil and gas. Learn more at Sightline's Fossil Fuels NW.

 

'Chasing Methane' by Mark Bittman.

 
 
 

2017 Audio Podcast from Making Contact. Will we allow petrochemical export terminals to turn the PNW into a Sacrifice Zone? [Part 1 and Part 2]

 

For an introducton to hydraulic Fracturing ("Fracking") see Earthwork's Fracking 101 or watch one of these:



      


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