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More than 100 people, many of them Shell employees, squeezed into the meeting room at the library Thursday night for a public hearing involving Shell’s request to construct a crude-by-rail offloading yard at their March Point refinery.

More than three-dozen people signed up to testify at the hearing by the Northwest Clean Air Agency on Shell’s request for a clean air permit for the planned rail yard. The proposed project would allow the Shell refinery to unload light crude oil, such as Bakken crude, from railcars. It would have the capacity to unload 102 cars a day.

With this project, the refinery could receive up to 40 percent of its crude oil at the rail terminal, replacing oil delivered by ship, but not increasing the total amount of crude oil it processes.

To control emissions at the rail terminal, the permit would require the refinery to use a closed vapor control system for unloading the trains, and install specialized equipment in its onsite wastewater collection system.

The Northwest Clean Air Agency permit is one of more than a dozen regulatory steps Shell must hurtle before construction starts.

Tesoro operates a similar railyard at the other refinery on March Point.

COVID-19 Cases in Skagit County

4,122 Confirmed Skagit Cases
379 Total Cases in ZIP 98221

259 Hospitalizations
61 Deaths
7,743 Fully Vaccinated
26,198 Doses Given


319,498 Confirmed Cases Statewide
19,224 Hospitalizations

4,942 Deaths Statewide

Updated 6 pm, February 25, 2021.

County Map: Confirmed COVID-19 cases by ZIP code in Skagit County. Updated weekly.

Sources: Skagit County Public Health, Washington State Department of Health, New York Times

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