December 13, 2018 (Longview, WA) – Today, the Port of Kalama and Cowlitz County held a public hearing on the proposed fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama, WA. The hearing focused on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the full climate impacts of the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery, but many people used the opportunity to urge Washington Department of Ecology and Washington Governor Jay Inslee to deny the project as a whole. Hundreds of people from Cowlitz County and neighboring areas rallied before the hearing to call on Governor Inslee and Ecology to deny the project.

Among the voices standing up for communities and calling for a denial of the Kalama methanol refinery:

Mike Reuter, Kalama’s Mayor, told the assembled group, “I am the mayor of Kalama, but I am speaking here today as a private citizen who is concerned about the welfare and future for the people and businesses of the NW and Kalama. I’m very concerned that this refinery will cause a pipeline capacity problem, and that businesses and ratepayers will end up footing the bill when energy prices go up as a result. These impacts are on my mind – I hope they are on Governor Inslee’s mind too–and I think they should be addressed rather than us rushing to make Kalama a fuel depot for China.”

“This project will harm the health of people living in Cowlitz County; harm the health of those who live near the fracking wells; and since it is inconceivable that it will decrease rather than increase greenhouse gas emissions, it will harm the health of everyone on our planet,” said Dr. Melanie Plaut, a retired physician and member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“Governor Inslee and Ecology need to be climate champions and deny this project; the Kalama methanol refinery would consume a stunning amount of fracked gas—one-third as much gas as used by the entire state of Washington.” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director for Columbia Riverkeeper.

“Governor Inslee understands the dangers of fracking and fossil fuels,” said Cecile Gernez, Conservation Organizer with the Sierra Club Washington State Chapter. “Now is the critical moment for our governor to stand with us, and reject this dirty fossil fuel project.”

Next Steps:
The Port of Kalama and Cowlitz County are accepting written public comments on the Draft EIS from November 13 until December 28.

Resources:
Methanol Company Downplays Climate Impact of Refinery, November 2018
FOIA Lawsuit: U.S. Dept. of Energy Withholding Info about Financial Aid for Proposed Petrochemical Plant, August 2018
Port Broke Law By Ignoring Greenhouse Gas Pollution, April 2018
State Board Rules that Port Of Kalama Violated Washington Law by Failing to Evaluate Greenhouse Gas Impacts, September 2017