Tacoma residents voice concern over plan to build world's largest methanol plant there

TACOMA, Wash -- Hundreds of people in Tacoma are fired up about a plan to build what would be the largest methanol plant in the world.

On Wednesday night, it was a full house at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center as the city took public comment about the issue.

“I’m completely against this methanol plant and I think it’s a horrible idea,” said Mary Stewart, a mother of four who lives in Tacoma.

Northwest Innovation Works wants to build the largest methanol plant in the world, on land in the Port of Tacoma.

“I think it’s a horrible, horrible decision,” said Laure Nichols, a Tacoma resident.

The plant would be built on 125 acres along the Blair Waterway.

“Northwest Innovation Works has selected technology to use that will provide 75% further reduction in emissions,” said Many Putney, with Northwest Innovation Works.

The plant would take piped-in natural gas into Tacoma and turn it into methanol.

That methanol would be sent to China to be turned into olefins -- a type of plastic that is used to make numerous products we use every day, such as cell phones, tires and jackets.

“So this process is a cleaner way to produce methanol and it really provides a way to achieve global goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions,” added Putney.

The methanol plant is expected to use 14 million gallons of water each day and use as much power to provide electricity to nearly 400,000 homes.

“These things always come with some level of disaster even with an environmental study,” said Zach Powers, a Tacoma resident.

Northwest Innovation Works says the plant would create about 1,000 jobs at its peak during construction and about 260 permanent jobs once it’s operational.

A lot of people in Tacoma are concerned about the impact this plant will have on this city and the environment.

“I can’t live someplace where it’s dangerous for my kids,” said Stewart.

“I think once people realize the impact it’s going to have, I’m really questioning people wanting to stay in Tacoma long term,” added Nichols.

This issue isn’t only affecting Tacoma.

On Wednesday, the mayor of Federal Way said he was against the plan and has called an emergency City Council meeting for Thursday to talk about it.