WASHINGTON: An appeal by the Port of Kalama regarding a conditional use permit for a planned $1.8 billion methanol refinery has been dropped following clarification from the state Department of Ecology, a release from the port stated late last month. The appeal was specifically regarding regulations on greenhouse gas emissions on a marine terminal that both the port and Northwest Innovation Works, the company behind the plant project, had proposed as part of the facility.
The port had initially filed the appeal in June following Ecology’s initial approval of the permit. Since the filing of the appeal Ecology had provided documents clarifying that the conditions don’t apply to the port’s activities in the shoreline related to operating the marine terminal, thus the port doesn’t have a requirement for compliance, according to Port of Kalama Executive Director Mark Wilson. “We do not oppose regulation of greenhouse gas emissions,” Wilson stated in the release. “Ecology’s clarification of their position has addressed the concerns that triggered the Port’s appeal.” A dock, berth, equipment for loading as well as stormwater and utilities systems are all included in the terminal part of the project, according to the release. Ships using the terminal would connect to shore power, reducing air emissions coming from the vessels. Also appealing Ecology’s permit decision are a group of environmentally-minded activist groups including Columbia Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity. Their appeal, however, argues that Ecology “failed to disclose and evaluate the full environmental impacts of the project and erroneously concluded that the project will not have a significant adverse environmental impact.”