|Francesca Siena holds a photo of Mount Rainier and the Port of Tacoma that has been computer modified to include the image of a refinery as she protests in Tacoma, Wash., outside a public meeting to gather opinion on a proposed methanol plant that would be built at the Port of Tacoma. he Pacific Northwest is poised to become a global hub for methanol production if the plant and two other proposed refineries are built along the Columbia River and Puget Sound, but opponents have raised concerns about potential environmental and health impacts. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)|
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Company officials say plans for a $1.8 billion methane plant at the Port of Tacoma that would convert natural gas to methanol have been shelved — at least temporarily.
Officials with a multinational consortium of chemical companies and investors called Northwest Innovation Works said in a news release Friday they've asked the city of Tacoma to pause an environmental review of the plant. The review is needed before the company can apply for a building permit.
Company officials say they plan to use the next several months to engage in public outreach. They say they've been surprised by "the tone and substance of vocal opposition" that has emerged over the proposal.
The plans have sparked resistance from Tacoma-area residents who criticize the plant's potential impact on the environment, property values and other concerns.