KALAMA, Wash. (AP) — State regulators have granted two key permits for a $2 billion project in southwest Washington state that would convert natural gas to methanol.

The Department of Ecology on Thursday approved a shoreline permit for the project by Northwest Innovation Works at the Port of Kalama. It also issued a water-quality certification for a related pipeline to supply natural gas to the methanol facility.

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

The company said Thursday that the project is waiting for a federal permit for the Columbia River dock.

Environmental groups have opposed the project, saying it would release up to 1 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year.

Ecology says the project would be required to reduce its emissions by 1.7 percent each year, under the state's new rule to cap pollution.

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