September 17, 2020

For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan Serres, Conservation Director, Columbia Riverkeeper (503) 890-2441 dan@columbiariverkeeper.org

Community Members Urge Washington to Reject Kalama Methanol Refinery In Virtual Hearing

[Lacey, WA] — Today, a broad array of community voices urged the Washington Department of Ecology to reject a proposed fracked gas-to-methanol refinery proposed in Kalama, Washington. Out of the dozens of people who testified, the vast majority of people hammered on the proposed refinery’s enormous potential carbon pollution impact, over 4.6 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution each year—making it one of Washington’s largest sources of climate pollution if built.

Most Kalama residents who spoke were in opposition to the project.

“People all around the Pacific Northwest presented ardent testimony today to the WA Dept. of Ecology. Our message was united. The climate, already in an emergency state, cannot afford an additional 4.6 million metric tons of carbon pollution annually from a massive fossil-gas to methanol refinery on the shores of the Columbia River in Kalama,” said Sally Keely, a Kalama resident and math professor.

For several hours, Ecology listened to testimony, with most speakers urging the agency to reject the refinery. On its website, Ecology states that the refinery would be one of the top greenhouse gas polluters in Washington.

“Ecology has a clear-cut choice to make. Will they allow Kalama to become the site of the world’s largest gas-to-methanol refinery, a huge fossil fuel polluter, and one of the top greenhouse gas emitters in the state? Or will they protect the community and our climate by rejecting this proposed carbon bomb in Kalama,” said John Flynn, a resident of Kalama and avid fisherman on the Columbia River. “We hope they choose to protect people and the climate by rejecting this project.”

“Look out your window. We are in a climate emergency. Building the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery will make this problem worse,” said Sept Gernez, Organizer with the Sierra Club Washington State Chapter, a member of the Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition. “This project would be disastrous for our communities and our climate, and it’s time to reject it once and for all.”

Ecology is planning to hold additional virtual hearings on Tuesday, September 22 at 10am and 6pm. And Ecology will hold a final phone-only hearing at 6pm on September 23. Ecology will accept written comments on the draft analysis until October 2.

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Power Past Fracked Gas is a growing coalition of Pacific Northwest health, environmental, faith, and community groups that believe in the power of clean energy and the value of clean water. We oppose new fracked gas infrastructure that locks our region into decades of continued reliance on dirty energy and harmful projects.

Visit powerpastfrackedgas.org/kalama to take action to stop the Kalama Methanol refinery.