September 3, 2019
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Final study: Kalama methanol plant would be a net positive effect for global climate

A new methanol production plant planned for Kalama would have a major positive impact on lowering greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released last week by Cowlitz County and the Port of Kalama.

By displacing current coal-based methanol production in Asia, the proposed Northwest Innovation Works processing plant would have the net result of reducing global carbon emissions by 13.7 million tons a year. That's the equivalent of about 12 percent of the carbon emitted annually by all the cars, factories and other sources in Washington, The Daily News reports.

“The science and facts laid out today make a clear and convincing case that our project in Kalama will result in a significant net reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions,” Vee Godley, NWIW chief development officer, said in a prepared statement. “Regulators called for a comprehensive review of our actual and potential emissions, and this independent analysis delivers those results.”

The project was first proposed in 2014. The company wants to pipe natural gas to the site and convert it to methanol, which would be shipped to Asia to make olefins for use in plastics manufacturing. Using cleaner natural gas to produce these raw materials, rather than creating them from coal, results in the lower environmental footprint for the project.

The new FSEIS could clear the way for the company to obtain a critical shorelines permit, the newspaper reports.

The Longview/Kelso Building and Construction Trades Council welcomed the results of the study, saying the economic impact of the project will be important for an area in need of more family-wage jobs.

“[What] I am most excited about is that the (study) proves yet again that with NWIW’s voluntary 100% in-state mitigation plan and the overall reduction of global GHG emissions made possible by displacing coal-based manufacturing in China, we can have environmentally-responsible industrial development in our state and help create a new model for other projects to follow,” said Mike Bridges, president of the union group.

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Big Changes

Employers need to prepare for new noncompete laws

By Tim O'Connell of Stoel Rives

During the last legislative session, Washington took significant steps to limit noncompetition agreements for employees in the state and prohibit employer policies that ban moonlighting, impacting not only an important part of many local companies' strategies to protect their market position, but also employee loyalty.

The new state statute regarding noncompetition agreements and moonlighting policies demands attention from Washington employers...

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, employers that utilize noncompetition agreements need to carefully evaluate whether those agreements will meet the new state standards. If not, employers should revoke or revise those agreements prior to the effective date...

Properly structured noncompetition agreements and properly based policies regarding moonlighting are valid. Employers must, however, address these new limitations, sooner rather than later.

Read the full column in The Puget Sound Business Journal