Oppose the Massive Fracked Gas Refinery at Kalama

Comment Period extended to Oct 9

The fracked gas industry wants to build the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama. The proposed refinery would consume a staggering amount of fracked gas, more than all of Washington’s gas-fired power plants combined. The project would convert the fracked gas to methanol, which would be shipped overseas to be burned as fuel or used as feedstock to make plastics.

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has released a new Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to address the climate impacts of the proposed plant. The SEIS explains that the refinery would cause a staggering 4.6 million tons of climate pollution every year for 40 years. It would contribute to a significant global increase in greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions would undercut Washington’s efforts to move towards a clean energy economy.

The SEIS reveals what the project’s backers have long denied: that the refinery would cause more methanol to be burned as fuel in China and result in significant methane pollution from fracking. The methanol refinery would quickly become Washington’s largest climate polluter by 2025. It would use more fracked gas than all of Washington’s gas-fired power plants combined. In addition, up to 6 tankers per month would transport methanol to China, adding to the total greenhouse gas emissions of this facility.

The Kalama project will drive fracking and methane pollution. Because of its enormous demand for fracked gas, the proposed refinery would be responsible for increased fracking and the methane pollution that fracking causes. Because methane escapes during the fracking process, this “upstream” pollution will exceed one million tons of greenhouse gas pollution each year, using even the most conservative estimates of methane leakage.

Combustion of methanol from the Kalama project will lead to a large “downstream” source of greenhouse gas pollution. Although the proponents tried for years to claim that no one would ever burn the methanol produced in Kalama, the SEIS shows that the Kalama methanol refinery would lead to more methanol being burned as fuel in China.

Unfortunately, the SEIS also relies on speculative mitigation and an unenforceable market analysis to prop up this dirty, climate-wrecking proposal. The SEIS does not offer any proof for its theory that the Kalama plant will displace worse sources of pollution in China.

You can weigh in against this fracked gas project! The comment period closes Oct. 2. You can use Ecology’s online comment form or sign a petition with Columbia Riverkeeper.

Published by Susan Saul

Conservation Chair, Vancouver Audubon Society

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