Letters to the Editor

Methanol: Ghosts of past, present haunt our future

As Tacoma considers a possible plastic bag ban, it simultaneously is contemplating the construction of a methanol plant so China can produce plastics.

Just why we need to begin rigorous public examination of the proposed plant at the Port of Tacoma – the largest such plant in the world – is evoked by the popular holiday fable of Scrooge and his three ghosts. For Tacomans, it becomes a cautionary tale regarding where we are, where we have been and what action we want to take to protect the future of our town.

Regarding our past, Tacoma continues to struggle with the environmental disasters of Asarco and theThea Foss Superfund site.

Considering our present, producing methanol so China can make plastics comes at a time when humans are becoming aware of the devastating global impact of these toxic, nonbiodegradable materials polluting our waterways and land.

Finally, building a plant that consumes 15,000 gallons of water a minute, uses known carcinogens like nickel carbonyl, and presents the risk of methanation and hydrogen fires speaks directly to our future.

Instead of a becoming another cautionary tale, we need to remember our past so we will not be haunted by our future.