January 30, 2017
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Hundreds attend methanol hearing; major permit decision expected soon

A decision should be coming soon on a key shorelines permit for the proposed Northwest Innovation Works plant in Kalama, which would convert natural gas into methanol -- and generate hundreds of jobs in economically-strapped Cowlitz County. The finished product would be shipped to Asia for use in manufacturing plastics.

The plant would create 1,000 construction jobs and nearly 200 permanent jobs, each with compensation of more than $100,000 per year.

Northwest Innovation Works has a number of environmentally-friendly aspects to the project: ultra-low emissions technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, zero-liquid methods of discharge to keep wastewater out of the Columbia River, and the biggest green aspect of the project -- helping the industry cut its reliance on coal.

“Rejecting this plant would be environmentally irresponsible as long as the people of Cowlitz County and the state of Washington continue to purchase products made from synthetic materials,” said Rick Desimone, adviser for Northwest Innovation Works.

Cowlitz County staff recommend approval of the permit.

The Daily News has more here and here. State Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, wrote a column in support of the project here, saying the plant is vital to Cowlitz County's future.

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Kudos to Microsoft for bold public-policy goals for Washington state

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Microsoft is taking its regional public service to a new level with the release of an ambitious legislative agenda for Washington state.

Under its president, Brad Smith, the company has increasingly advocated for education, transportation and economic development.

Recognizing that the entire state has unmet needs, the company is broadening its agenda beyond the Puget Sound area. Best of all, Microsoft is offering to help incubate and partly fund several new programs to get them launched.

The public benefits from such corporate citizens providing thoughtful and supportive engagement on critical policy issues.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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