Shell Refinery Pulls Crude-By-Rail Permit Application

by Tom Glade Tuesday, October 11, 2016 9:03 AM

With regards to Shell Oil’s decision to pull its permit application, Margaret Mead’s statement that “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” must be revised to say “a large group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world” in the face of powerful corporations and local, state, and federal governments. In mutual opposition to the extremely dangerous Bakken Crude oil trains traversing our state. Over the last two years, Evergreen Islands has worked with citizen groups and organizations across the state – from Spokane, over to the Columbia River, down to Vancouver, past Grays Harbor, Olympia, under Seattle, and all the way north to Bellingham.

While many, many people played a part in the effort to halt Shell Oil’s risky proposal, certain people deserve special recognition. Certainly, a pivotal person is Skagit County Hearing Examiner, Wick Dufford, who had the moral integrity to require an Environmental Impact Statement. Secondly, Jan Hasselman and Kristen Boyles, Earthjustice’s accomplished attorneys, deserve credit for not only successfully arguing against Skagit County’s Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance decision but also prevailing in Shell Oil’s court case challenging the Hearing Examiner’s decision.

In Skagit County, Earthjustice represented RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Friends of the San Juans, ForestEthics (now Stand), Washington Environmental Council, Friends of the Earth, and Evergreen Islands. But many non-profit organizations, homeowner associations, and private citizens are continuing their ardent efforts to protect the health and safety of – the humans in communities faced with similar perils – the threatened salmon and steelhead living in our rivers and bays - all the plants and animals living in the magnificent Columbia River, the mighty Skagit River; and the irreplaceable Salish Sea.

Shell Oil’s decision to withdraw its permit application may be a win-win outcome – Shell avoiding a premature financial decision and myriad communities avoiding an increased risk of disastrous crude oil train derailments. Evergreen Islands is willing to work with both the Shell Puget Sound Refiner and the Tesoro Anacortes refinery to achieve a just transition towards a low carbon economy.


Tom Glade

President, Evergreen Islands


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