Joining upwards of two thousand people, South Sound Chapter volunteers publicly addressed their concerns about a proposed methanol plant at a recent public hearing in the city of Tacoma. The plant, proposed to be located in the Port of Tacoma and built by Northwest Innovation Works LLC (NWIW), would use natural gas to convert to methanol to be shipped to China to be used in the construction of plastics. The chapter voiced several concerns from extensive water usage, risk of water contamination, and threats to Commencement Bay from shipping a highly flammable substance.
UPDATE: New Public Hearing Scheduled for February 10th, doors open at 5pm at the convention center. For more details, click here.
Local organization Citizens for a Healthy Bay has identified three key areas of environmental concern related to the plant including water demands, air pollutants, and wastewater. It is estimated from NWIW that the plant will consume 3.8 billion gallons of water per year while current water usage among residents totals 5.9 billion gallons. Air pollutants specifics have yet to be clarified from the developers or the city of Tacoma, the lead agency on the environmental review process, but there are concerns for substances such as sulfer dioxide. Further more, NWIW believes that 1.44 million gallons of waste water from the plant will be discharged through the Tacoma wastewater system.
As a recreation focused organization, Surfrider is concerned about the impacts listed above and what impacts the proposed plant will have on kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, beach-going, and other opportunities Tacoma residents on the beach or in the water around Commencement Bay. The South Sound chapter has yet to decide on whether they will take a formal stance in opposition to the terminal as they, like other groups, continue to work to gather more information on the plant. As the chapter continues this effort they will be updating their findings along with a final decision in the near future so keep in touch with them for updates via their Facebook page or you can contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.