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Company behind Kalama methanol pipeline also requests permits be canceled

Proposed methanol plant site (copy)

A vacant property at Port of Kalama adjoining Steelscape was the proposed site of a canceled $2.3 billion methanol plant.

KALAMA — The company charged with building a pipeline for the failed Kalama methanol plant also asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to cancel its permits, saying “there is uncertainty with respect to the project.”

Columbia Riverkeeper on Aug. 4 requested those permits be revoked, and the Williams Companies followed suit with a request for revocation Aug. 20.

Columbia Riverkeeper asks Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to revoke pipeline certificates for Kalama methanol project

The Williams Companies 24-inch diameter pipeline would have brought natural gas to the plant from its larger pipelines. According to the project website, Northwest Innovation Works and Williams’ Northwest Pipeline signed a pre-construction agreement and in 2014 filed a pipeline application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted the needed certificate of public convenience and necessity in April 2016. The pipeline was slated to be in service by April 2022, pending the proper permits, according to the pipeline website.

Economic development officials mourn loss of proposed $2.3B Northwest Innovation Works methanol plant project as environmentalists hail end of 7-year battle

The pipeline got several extensions as the methanol plant faced repeated legal and permitting challenges. The $2.3 billion methanol plant first was proposed in 2014, but was denied several key permits by the state and faced legal opposition from environmental groups. Ultimately, Northwest Innovation Works terminated its lease agreement with the Port of Kalama and withdrew after the plant was mired in permit and legal battles for years.

“On June 11, 2021, the proponents of the project which was to be the pipeline’s sole customer announced the temporization of the project and terminated their lease agreement with the Port of Kalama,” Williams Companies wrote in the legal request. “Since there is uncertainty with respect to the project, Northwest seeks herein to vacate the authorization granted by the Commission.”

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Ultimately, Northwest Innovation Works terminated its lease agreement with the Port of Kalama in June and withdrew after the plant was mired in permit and legal battles for years. As the plant was to be the pipeline’s “sole customer,” “the project is no longer viable,” Thursday’s legal documents said.

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