A “scoping” report which summarizes over 35,000 comments from the public, agencies and tribes concerning Shell’s proposed oil unloading facility at March Point was released on Friday and is now available on the Internet.
Skagit County and Ecology will consider these public comments as they work to define the scope and prepare a draft environmental impact statement (EIS), which is now scheduled for publication late next year.
On September 21, 2015, the co-lead agencies, Skagit County and the state Department of Ecology, released a determination of significance that stated Shell’s proposed project may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and, therefore, required the development of an Environmental Impact Statement.
Shell is proposing to build a rail spur from the existing BNSF Railway line onto Shell’s property to accommodate unit trains of 102 tank cars transporting crude oil. The facility is being designed to receive and unload a maximum of six unit trains per week.
The Shell project also involves installing equipment and facilities to pump oil from rail cars to existing tanks within the Shell PSR, constructing several stormwater retention ponds, and other safety and spill response measures. The crude received by rail at this facility would replace crude that Shell PSR currently receives by ship.
The proposed project would not increase Shell PSR’s refining capacity or marine vessel traffic associated with the refinery.
In addition, Shell proposes mitigation for approximately 26 acres of on-site wetland impacts by restoring a portion of a nearby tree farm on Padilla Bay back to a tidally influenced estuary.
The purpose of scoping is to identify the issues to be analyzed in the EIS. The purpose of this scoping report is to summarize the issues identified by individuals, tribes, organizations, and agencies during the scoping comment period for the Shell Anacortes Refinery Unloading Facility EIS.
This report distills the comments into key themes, giving equal weight to each issue and concept; it does not contain all comments received verbatim nor does it quantify comments by topic.
The scoping report and other documents are available on the EIS Web site.