It is understandable that many people are confused about the methanol plant that Northwest Innovation Works wants to build in Kalama, Cowlitz County. It has a rather controversial history and there are vastly differing opinions about it. Let’s start with the facts.
The plant would be the largest methanol plant in the world. It would consume 320 million cubic feet of methane (the main component of natural gas) per day, more than is used by every gas-fired power plant in Washington combined. It would also use 5 million gallons of water per day, nearly what the entire city of Portland uses. The methanol produced would be shipped to China. Despite the seemingly local company name, NW Innovation Works is funded by the Chinese and is a commercial offshoot of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is run by the government.