Kalama Methanol Refinery

Act Now: 
Tell Washington Governor Jay Inslee to oppose the Kalama methanol refinery: Building the world’s largest natural gas-to-methanol refinery is the wrong direction for our safety, river, climate and private property rights!

2.) Tell Washington Department of Ecology to protect the Columbia River and our climate by overturning Cowlitz County’s approval of the proposed methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington.

By any measure, the methanol refinery slated for construction on the banks of the Columbia River at the Port of Kalama is a giant. Get the basic facts about the project by reading the independent Sightline Institute report: “Kalama’s Methanol Refinery, By the Numbers.” Northwest Innovation Works, a corporation controlled by of the Chinese government, seeks to build methanol refineries in the Northwest to take advantage of our cheap natural gas, electricity, and water. The methanol would be shipped to China to make plastics. For more detailed information about the proposal, check out Columbia Riverkeeper’s white paper: “Methanol Refining and Export on the Columbia: What You Need to Know.”


Here’s the video explaining methanol refining and export in 4 minutes for context, with a petition at the end:


Northwest Innovation Works proposed a similar methanol refinery in Tacoma. Public outcry over dangerous pollution from methanol refining drove the corporation out of town. Kalama is the new target.

Beyond Kalama: methanol refineries mean more fracked natural gas and more pipelines.

Riverkeeper is collaborating with local residents to oppose the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama. But Riverkeeper is also exposing how these massive methanol refinery proposals would profoundly increase our region’s consumption of fracked gas and drive the construction of massive new gas pipelines into the Pacific Northwest.

Why is fracked gas such a big deal? It is primarily comprised of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Methane leaks from fracking gas wells and gas pipelines are so severe that scientists have concluded that fracked gas can be as bad for our climate as coal.

The Kalama methanol refinery would use a stunning volume of natural gas; 320 million cubic feet per day, more than all other Washington industry combined. Thus far, the methanol company has not explained how the existing natural gas pipeline system could supply the methanol refinery. But newly released documents from NW Natural explain that the gas company could lease pipeline capacity to the Kalama methanol refinery to “bridge the gap in time between the commencement of methanol plant operation and the in-service date for an upstream infrastructure expansion, say three years.” In other words, a major new natural gas pipeline into the Northwest would be built in the next three years to supply the methanol refinery.


Get Involved:
Contact jasmine@columbiariverkeeper.org to volunteer, and check out our upcoming events page.