The Daily News reports Burlington Northern Santa Fe has agreed to sell 2 acres for access to the site, and the port and Northwest Innovation have hired a team of consultants to prepare permit applications. Studies are expected to take about a year.
Northwest Innovation is a partnership between the Chinese government and British Petroleum. The plant would produce methanol from natural gas for use as a fuel in Asia.
The plant would employ 1,000 workers during construction and 240 when it hopes to begin operating in 2018.
Northwest Innovation proposed a similar methanol plant on the Columbia River at Clatskanie, Ore.
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