A China-backed consortium has canceled plans to build a $3.4 billion methanol plant in Tacoma.
Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW) said April 19 that it is ending its lease with the Port of Tacoma.
The company said in a statement that one reason is because of lingering pollution at the former Kaiser aluminum smelter site. The company says coming up with the right regulatory approach for building the plant there was taking longer than anticipated.
The Tacoma project was the largest of three methanol refineries proposed by the company to convert natural gas to methanol, which would then be shipped to China to make plastics and other consumer goods. The plant would have produced 20,000 metric tons a day and dwarf other methanol plants planned or being built in the U.S.
“While we do not see a way forward with the Port of Tacoma to realize this vision at this location, we remain committed to building facilities that offer a cleaner way to make products necessary for daily life, and to investing billions in local communities in the Pacific Northwest,” said Vee Godley, NWIW President.
Supporters have said the projects would create hundreds of jobs and infuse billions of dollars into the region.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee had embraced them as a boost to the state’s clean energy future.
But the Tacoma project faced vocal opposition from those concerned about environmental and health impacts.