Skagit County planners announced Wednesday, August 13 that they will require Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes to meet some conditions to bolster public and environmental safety as part of its quest to move forward on a proposed rail offloading facility.
But Skagit County Planning and Development Services said it still will not require a full environmental review. The county received hundreds of public comments following its April 24 announcement that it would not require an environmental impact statement for the project.
In response, Skagit County Senior Planner Leah Forbes asked the company to provide additional information pertaining to various public safety and environmental issues.
After reviewing Shell's response, the county "determined that additional conditions are appropriate" for the project, and the "modified and added conditions continue to address the project's environmental impacts," according to a news release.
The decision essentially approves three of 13 needed permits for the project. But those permits come with special conditions, including requirements for tank car safety, consideration of neighboring heron populations and planning rail movement to avoid peak traffic times.
The decision is open for public comment through Aug. 28 and is open for appeal through Sept. 11.
The rail project, which would allow the refinery to receive one, 100-car train per day carrying about 60,000 barrels of crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken formation, has garnered some regional protest. Protesters cite recent derailments, public safety and environmental concerns as reasons to halt additional oil transport through communities in Skagit County and beyond.
Shell hopes to start building the offloading facility in January.