Port of Tacoma

Port receives final payment from methanol producer

A view of the Blair Waterway at the Port of Tacoma in March. Northwest Innovation Works’ last payment to the port came to $1,468,879.06.
A view of the Blair Waterway at the Port of Tacoma in March. Northwest Innovation Works’ last payment to the port came to $1,468,879.06. Staff file, 2016

The controversial methanol plant backer has made its final payment to the Port of Tacoma.

Thursday’s wire transfer closes out Northwest Innovation Works’ business relationship with the port, which began when port commissioners approved a lease with the company May 1, 2014. Its last payment came to $1,468,879.06.

The China-backed company proposed a $3.6 billion plant that would convert natural gas into methanol. The liquid would then be shipped to China, where it would be used in production of various plastic goods.

The lease said the company owed the port $1.8 million during the initial feasibility period, which ends Saturday. Northwest Innovation Works had asked for an extension of the feasibility period in February, but commissioners signaled their dissatisfaction with the company in recent weeks.

The company abruptly canceled its lease April 19 — about a week before the Port Commission was slated to vote on the company’s future at the port.

The cancellation was met with cheers from the activist community that had formed to stop the progress of the plant. Many opposed the project because it would have used 10.4 million gallons of water per day and 450 megawatts of electricity at its peak.

Murray “Vee” Godley, the president of Northwest Innovation Works, said opposition to the project had no effect on the company’s decision to back out, citing instead regulatory hurdles.

Northwest Innovation Works is now focusing its efforts on two other locations: Port of Kalama and near Clatskanie, Oregon. Both are on the Columbia River.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports

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