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Company drops plan for $2.3 billion methanol plant in Washington

Northwest Innovation Works told the Port of Kalama it will terminate its lease, ending the $2.3 billion project following several legal and regulatory setbacks.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this 2017 file photo, Mark Keely, of Kalama, Wash., stands with other protesters outside the Washington Department of Ecology's Vancouver field office in 2017. Keely and others were demonstrating against the proposed methanol refinery that could be built in Kalama. The department dealt the project a setback on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, saying it could not proceed without further environmental review of its greenhouse gas emissions. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian via AP, File)

SEATTLE — A company backed by the Chinese government says it is ending its seven-year effort to build one of the world's largest methanol plants along the Columbia River in southwestern Washington. 

Northwest Innovation Works on Friday told the Port of Kalama it will terminate its lease, ending the $2.3 billion project following several legal and regulatory setbacks.

The company proposed to take fracked natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol, which it would then ship to China to make ingredients for plastics. 

The state Department of Ecology denied a key permit for the project in January, saying it would create too much pollution

The project has drawn staunch opposition from conservation groups over the years who say it would drastically worsen greenhouse gas pollution and contribute to global warming.