Safe Shippers’ Swan Song of 2018!

Dear Safe Shippers,

We have an opportunity to take our final action of the year — let’s do it for the orcas!
WHAT? The Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Kalama WA Methanol Manufacturing and Export Project is open for comment.
WHEN? Comments are due by 5:00pm on Friday, December 28, 2018.


THE BACKSTORY: In April 2016, Safe Shippers submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed methanol refinery located in Kalama WA on the Columbia River; and again in February 2017 for the proposed project’s Air Discharge Permit. Planned to be the largest in the world, this refinery would receive fracked gas via pipeline, refine it into methanol, and load it onto ships heading down the Columbia and out to China to be manufactured into plastic products and/or used as fuel for China’s vehicles.

Why are Safe Shippers concerned? Even though our islands in the Salish Sea are almost 300 miles away, the Columbia River is connected to us because of our endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. The Southern Residents have been tracked following the salmon to the mouth of the river where they forage on the fish from the Snake and Columbia Rivers. These salmon, and therefore the orcas, depend on the health of the rivers for survival. With this refinery, the river and its food chain would be threatened by: oil and fuel spills, air pollution, noise pollution, and water consumption and contamination.

THE ACTION: We have a new opportunity to speak up for the river and our orcas. This is a “supplemental” DEIS, because they failed the first time to fully analyze and consider mitigation for the greenhouse gases that would be emitted from this project. They are still failing to do so. Fracking, piping, refining, and shipping ever more fossil fuels is the wrong way to go for our orcas, rivers, and oceans.

Ask Governor Inslee, the Port of Kalama, and Washington’s Department of Ecology to deny this project. Our state is supposed to be on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and yet this plant would emit over 1 million tons of CO2 annually. A project like this would accelerate climate change, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification, which in turn would accelerate the collapse of the food web, of which the orcas and we humans are members.


Public comment may be submitted by the following methods:

By mail: Ann Farr, Port of Kalama, 110 W. Marine Drive, Kalama, WA 98625

By e-mail:

By using the online form:

By signing online petitions (for more impact, please personalize your comment):


• Columbia Riverkeeper:

• Sierra Club:



Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement:

The Seattle Times: “Would a $2 billion gas-to-methanol plant in Washington state help combat climate change?”

The Daily News Longview: “About 600 attend methanol hearing; most speakers oppose plant”

Oregon Public Broadcasting: “Study Finds Kalama Methanol Plant Would Reduce Global Carbon Emissions”

Sightline Institute: “Three reasons why the Kalama methanol project would be a climate disaster”

Sightline Institute: “How Northwest methanol is likely intended for China’s gas tanks”



This past year, Safe Shippers sent in comments on two other proposed fossil-fuel-shipping projects on the Columbia River. Guess what! Success for the river and the orcas!

• January 2018: Washington State denies the final permit required by Tesoro-Savage to build what would have been the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal (Vancouver WA).

• August 2018: Washington State denies the water quality permit needed by Millennium Bulk Terminals to build North America’s largest coal shipping terminal (Longview WA).

• December 2018: A U.S. District Court rules that Washington State did not violate federal laws governing ports or railroads when it denied a necessary water quality permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminals coal shipping project.

Way to go, Safe Shippers! This is what it looks like to never give up!
Onward into a new year — let’s make it a better one for the orcas and the Salish Sea!