Politics Blog

Skagit County judge dismisses Shell lawsuit over oil train facility EIS

A Skagit County Superior Court judge dismissed a Shell lawsuit this morning, which means the company’s proposed oil train unloading facility will need an environmental impact statement before being built.

The decision was a victory for Washington Environmental Council, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, and other environmental groups who joined together, represented by Jan Hasselman of Earthjustice, in appealing Skagit County’s original decision not to require an EIS.

The Skagit Valley Herald’s Shannen Kuest reports:

“The EIS for the Shell Puget Sound Refinery unloading facility will go forward as planned after Judge Michael E. Rickert granted the county’s motion to dismiss Shell’s request for judicial review.

Rickert said the lawsuit Shell brought against the county in March is premature because the scope of the EIS has not been determined.

‘Thinking about railroad impacts is not the same as regulating railroad impacts,’ Rickert said.”

Read Kuest’s full report here.

Part of the environmental groups’ response following the hearing:

“ ‘It’s time to stop suing each other and get down to work,’ said Jan Hasselman of Earthjustice. ‘The community deserves an honest conversation about this project and the court has said we are entitled to one.’

The proposed expansion would route six more mile-long oil trains per week through Washington, adding at least one hour a day of more traffic in Skagit County. Increased oil train traffic already puts Puget Sound, Padilla Bay, the Skagit River and communities at risk. More oil spilled from trains in 2014 than in the last four decades combined.

‘This is a victory for Skagitonians,’ said Tom Glade of Evergreen Islands. ‘They refused to let this project move forward without a full review of the impacts. And now, we will get one.’ ”