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Groups derail Shell refinery plan

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Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 21.26.38Article by Gary Chittim published 23 February 23, 2015 by under the headline:

Groups derail Shell refinery plan

Seattle – Six environmental groups successfully challenged approval for a rail expansion that would bring oil trains directly to the Shell Oil Refinery in Anacortes.

The project was initially moved along by Skagit County through a Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance.

The groups Earth Justice, Sustainable Communities, Friends of the San Juans, ForestEthics, Washington Environmental Council, Friends of the Earth, and Evergreen Islands appealed that decision to the Skagit County Examiner.

The Examiner agreed a complete environmental review is needed before the project can proceed.

The groups used recent explosions and leaks in Ontario and West Virginia as examples of how common and dangerous accidents can be.

Shell General Manager Tom Rizzo released the following statement:

We are disappointed by the decision not to uphold the County’s Determination of Non-Significance for our proposed East Gate Rail Project. This project is critical for the refinery, and we strongly believe that the County’s environmental analysis was thorough and based on sound science and evidence.

Shell is committed to safe and modern rail operations and to the communities of Skagit County with whom we have enjoyed a long and close relationship. This project will reflect the high standards of these communities by utilizing only rail cars with enhanced safety features, along with the facility’s state-of-the-art environmental protections.

For over two years, we have been going through an exhaustive planning and regulatory process in an effort to procure each of the various permits required for this facility. We respect the Hearing Examiner’s decision and are determined to stay the course in this process in order to achieve a win/win for Shell and the community. We are still going through the details of the ruling, and it is too early at this point to comment on specific next steps.

Earth Justice’s complete statement can be found at



Shell’s Washington rail project faces lengthy delay: Reuters 23 Feb 2015


(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell’s proposed crude-by-rail project in Washington state has been put on hold pending environmental review, just days after a pair of oil train derailments caused huge fires in Canada and West Virginia.

A Skagit County Office of Land Use Hearings examiner ruled Shell’s proposal must undergo a full environmental review, which can take a year or more.

Hearing examiner says Shell oil project needs full review: Associated Press 23 Feb 2015 and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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