Environmental Review
Shell Anacortes Refinery proposed crude by rail unloading facility

Project Update — Oct. 14, 2016 - Environmental review stopped after Shell withdraws permit applications for the project

aerial view of March Point in Skagit county

The Shell Puget Sound Refinery at March Point, near Anacortes, proposed an expansion project to receive rail deliveries of crude oil. The project involved building an unloading facility and rail spur from an existing BNSF Railway line. The expansion would have allowed for delivery of crude from six trains a week.

Following Shell’s request to withdraw their permit applications, Skagit County and the Washington Department of Ecology stopped their environmental review for the proposed crude-by-rail unloading facility. Shell withdrew its permit applications following its public announcement that it will not move forward with the project.

As a result, Ecology and Skagit County have cancelled the comment period and hearings that were scheduled for the public to review and comment on the draft environmental impact statement.

Should Shell decide to restart the project, the company would need to re-apply for permits, which would trigger the environmental review process. The extent of such a review depends on if and when Shell restarts the project, as well as what is proposed.

New information will be posted on this website as it becomes available.

Project History

Oct. 14, 2016Ecology cancels the public comment period. Public hearings planned for November are also canceled.
Oct. 6, 2016Shell announced they will not move forward with the project. A letter was sent to Ecology and Skagit County on Oct 12 to withdraw permit applications for the crude-by-rail unloading facility.
Oct 4, 2016Ecology and Skagit County start a 60-day public comment period for the draft EIS.
Fall 2015The co-leads selected HDR Engineering Inc. to conduct the EIS process and prepare a draft EIS for public review and comment. Work begins on the draft EIS.
Sept 21 – Nov 5, 201545-day comment period for project scoping. During this comment period, the co-leads accepted public comments about what should be included in the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement. The co-leads received more than 35,000 comments.
Sept. 21, 2015Skagit County and the Department of Ecology released a Determination of Significance for the Shell Anacortes Rail Unloading Facility.
July 2015The co-leads hired HDR Engineering, Inc. as a third party team to assist them in preparing a draft EIS for public review and comment.
May 18, 2015Skagit County requested that Ecology participate as a SEPA co-lead, and Ecology formally agreed on June 8, 2015.
Feb. 23, 2015The Hearing Examiner granted the appeal and ordered Skagit County to complete an EIS.
Jan. 28–30, 2015The Skagit County Hearing Examiner held an open record administrative appeal.
Sept. 11, 2014Earthjustice appealed the modified MDNS on behalf of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Friends of the San Juans, ForestEthics, Washington Environmental Council, Friends of the Earth, and Evergreen Islands.
Aug. 13, 2014The County received more than 400 comments on the MDNS decision, which led Skagit County to request additional information from Shell PSR.

After review of the additional information, Skagit County issued a modified MDNS that included additional conditions, supporting information and another comment period.
April 24, 2014After conducting a SEPA review, Skagit County determined that the project did not have a probable significant adverse impact to the environment if certain mitigation measures were followed. This is called a mitigated determination of nonsignificance (MDNS).
Jan. 9, 2014Skagit County held a public comment period for the proposed project.
Dec. 18, 2013Shell PSR submitted permit applications to Skagit County for the proposed project.

Project Documents

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (no longer accepting public comments)


Shell suspends project work, October 2016

Report from Sept 21- Nov 5 scoping comment period

Determination of Significance, Sept. 21, 2015

Key agreements, August 2015

Ecology agrees to serve as co-lead with Skagit County, June 8, 2015

Skagit County’s EIS co-lead request to Ecology, May 18, 2015:

Additional project documents, including the environmental checklist, can be reviewed on the Skagit County website.

For more information about SEPA reviews, please see Ecology’s Citizens Guide to SEPA Review and Commenting.

map showing site location as Whatcom County, WA

Facility Site ID: #7

March Point,
Skagit County

Region: Northwest Regional Office (NWRO)

Meg Bommarito
Regional Planner
Northwest Regional Office
Department of Ecology

Si necesita información en español, comuníquese con Gretchen Newman, 360-407-6097.

Project canceled


Oct. 13, 2016 - Environmental review stopped after Shell withdraws applications for Anacortes project


Skagit County Planning and Development Services

Shell Puget Sound Refinery facility information

State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)

Moving oil through Washington