US judge voids permits for Columbia River methanol plant

SEATTLE (AP) — A judge on Monday voided permits needed for a massive methanol plant on the Columbia River in southwestern Washington, agreeing with conservation groups that the project needs a more thorough environmental review. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had granted the permits for the construction of an export facility that is part of a $2 billion NW Innovation Works plant proposed in Kalama. The plant would take natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol, which would be shipped to China to make plastics. Conservation groups including Columbia Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club and Washington Environmental Council challenged the permits in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.