MOUNT VERNON — Several environmental groups are appealing a decision by Skagit County officials that they say will allow a proposal for an oil-train facility at an Anacortes refinery to move forward without a serious review of the risks.
Last month Skagit County planning officials determined that as long as certain conditions are imposed, the proposal by the Shell Puget Sound Refinery would not likely have a significant impact on the environment, and thus a full environmental review was not required.
Six conservation groups appealed this week, saying the decision failed to consider the cumulative effect and threat to the environment posed by the dramatic increase in oil-by-rail shipments in northwest Washington. Two refineries in Ferndale and one next door to Shell’s facility in Anacortes have already built oil train facilities that allow them to handle hundreds of tanks of North Dakota crude per day.
Shell wants to build the facility to replace some oil typically brought in by ship and says the oil arriving by train would not increase the refinery’s overall capacity.