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 is overseeing 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.
Skagit County has prepared a draft EIS and is accepting public comment until May 8, 2017. Comments received on the draft EIS will be reviewed and addressed in the final EIS.
In addition to completing the EIS, Tesoro will need to obtain permits and authorizations prior to construction and operation of the proposed project.