OLYMPIA, Wash. -

A state panel that reviews large energy projects has declined jurisdiction over a methanol plant proposed for the Port of Kalama in southwest Washington.
   
The environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper had sought to have the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council review the project by China-backed Northwest Innovation Works.
   
The plant would convert natural gas to methanol, which would then be shipped to China to make plastics and other consumer goods. It would produce about 3.6 million metric tons a year.
   
Council chairman William Lynch wrote in an order Wednesday that moving jurisdiction away from Cowlitz County and the Port of Kalama to the state agency would create delays and additional costs that would result in "substantial prejudice" to the company and the port. He dismissed Riverkeeper's petition.
   
Columbia Riverkeeper's Brett VandenHeuvel says such a massive project deserves a thorough state review.