The Tesoro Anacortes refinery is located in western Skagit County on March Point, along the western edge of Padilla Bay and the eastern edge of Fidalgo Bay. Site zoning allows for its development in the unincorporated urban growth area of the City of Anacortes. City zoning identifies this area for heavy manufacturing.
Tesoro proposes additions and upgrades to its existing facility in order to produce 15,000 barrels per day of mixed xylenes and to supply cleaner local transportation fuels. Mixed xylene is a compound found in gasoline, and is used to make clothing, plastics and other synthetic products. The proposal includes:
- Expanding the Naphtha Hydrotreater to remove more sulfur compounds from gasoline;
- Adding an Isomerization Unit to make additional light hydrocarbons and increase the amount of octane available to the refinery;
- Constructing an Aromatics Recovery Unit, a unit that produces mixed xylenes;
- Installing a steam boiler to provide additional energy to operate the units;
- Building a Marine Vapor Emissions Control (MVEC) system to capture vapors from marine vessels that come to the dock; and
- The MVEC involves a small unit on the dock, a new natural gas line along the dock and a small unit on the shore
- Installing three storage tanks next to the existing tankage area.
Environmental Review Process
Skagit County oversaw the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed project. An EIS must be prepared when the lead agency determines a proposal has the potential to have significant adverse environmental impacts. The EIS provides an impartial discussion of probable significant adverse environmental impacts, reasonable alternatives, and mitigation measures that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts.
The first step in the development of an EIS is called scoping, which occurred from March 17, 2016, through April 15, 2016. During scoping, agencies, tribes, local communities, organizations, and the public commented on factors that should be analyzed and considered in the EIS. Specifically, the scoping process is intended to collect input on the following topics:
- Reasonable range of alternatives;
- Potentially affected resources and extent of analysis for those resources;
- Measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate effects of the proposal; and
- Cumulative impacts.
The State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”), RCW 43.21C, and its implementing rules (WAC 197-11) provide the framework for agencies to consider the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project before taking any action. SEPA also gives agencies the ability to condition or deny a proposal.
As part of the process, Skagit County prepared the draft EIS, which identified and evaluated the potential environmental impacts of Tesoso's proposed project. During the comment period, the County received more than 7,600 public comments through the online open house, by email, phone, postal mail, hand delivery, and at the draft EIS public hearing.
After compiling, reviewing and considering comments received on the draft EIS Skagit County prepared the final EIS. The final EIS includes a summary of public comments recieved on the draft EIS with responses, makes factual corrections to the draft EIS, and provides additional analysis and information in response to public comments.
Tesoro will also need to obtain permits from Skagit County and authorizations from other local, state, and federal agencies to construct and operate the proposed project. For additional information and a list of anticipated permits and approvals, please see Chapter 1.4 of the draft EIS.
For more information about the SEPA process see: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/sepa/overview.html.