- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) - A Cowlitz County hearing examiner is hearing from both sides as he weighs shoreline permits for a proposed methanol plant at the Port of Kalama.

The Daily News of Longview reports that proponents of the Northwest Innovation Works project, including former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, have touted the economic benefits and pitched it as environmentally friendly.

But opponents, including the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, say the plant would be a big source of greenhouse gas emissions and would interfere with public access to the Columbia River shoreline.

The facility plant would convert natural gas to methanol, which would then be shipped to China to make plastics and other consumer goods.

Hearings resume for a third day Wednesday.

Hearing Examiner Mark Scheibmier is expected to decide whether to approve the permits within a few weeks. The state Department of Ecology will review his ruling and issue the final decision.

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