October 8, 2020
For Immediate Release

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

Thousands Urge Washington to Reject Climate-Wrecking Methanol Refinery in Kalama

[Lacey, WA] — Today, a broad coalition of over 30 community organizations representing tens of thousands of people from across the Northwest urged the Washington Department of Ecology and Governor Jay Inslee to deny the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery, proposed in Kalama, Washington. Over the past 40 days, thousands of commenters urged denial of the massive refinery, which would use up to 320 million cubic feet of fracked gas per day, more than all of Washington’s gas-fired power plants combined. At least 6,000 comments were submitted in opposition to the project.

Altogether, Ecology concluded the methanol refinery would cause 4.6 million tons of climate pollution every year for 40 years—making it one of Washington’s largest sources of climate pollution.

“In thousands of written comments, and in over 11 hours of public testimony, people in Kalama and across the Northwest urged Ecology to protect our climate and our community from this destructive, polluting refinery proposal,” said Sally Keely, a math professor and a resident of Kalama

“This project will generate millions of tons of pollution each year, a level of pollution that is stunningly out of step with Washington’s goals for reducing greenhouse gases that are driving the climate crisis,” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director with Columbia Riverkeeper. “If Washington locks Kalama into forty years of fossil fuel-driven methanol production and pollution, we will have failed to address the climate crisis. Governor Inslee and Ecology need to step up and protect Washington’s future, now.”

“In the middle of a climate emergency, building the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery is the last thing we need,” said Sept Gernez, Organizer with the Sierra Club Washington State Chapter, a member of the Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition. “Thousands of Washington residents have spoken out against this project because it would be disastrous for our communities and our climate. It’s time to reject it once and for all.”

“It would be reckless and irresponsible to build new massively polluting facilities based on speculation and flawed science,” said Alyssa Macy, CEO of Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters. “Thousands of Washingtonians are speaking up against this dangerous project because we know that we simply cannot build a clean energy future by investing in dirty energy.”

“This refinery will be fed by fracked gas that is toxic from source to delivery. I have seen the effects of methanol exposure on people.” said Dr. Annemarie Dooley, a Kidney Doctor and member of the climate and health task force at Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “They include blindness, vomiting, and unless I clean the blood with a dialysis machine, death. But somehow we are to believe that carbon intense methanol refining here is clean because it allegedly reduces future coal use in China? This sounds like the same sort of flimflammery that came from Volkswagen when they promoted low emission diesel engines. It was all an illusion.”

Ecology will release a final environmental review later this Fall and will likely make a decision to reject or approve a key permit for the proposed refinery by late 2020. The public comment period for the Kalama supplemental EIS officially ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 9.

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