Safe Shippers Show Up & Speak Up In Skagit County – November 2, 2017


In May 2017, Safe Shippers wrote comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Tesoro (now re-named Andeavor) Anacortes Refinery’s proposal to manufacture and export xylene to Asia. 

Xylene (pronounced ZIE-leen) is a highly volatile, hazardous and toxic petrochemical which has never before been manufactured in our region and transported through our waters. This project will require 120 additional annual tank vessel transits through the Salish Sea, increasing the risk of an oil spill — or worse, a xylene spill — in the waters surrounding our islands. 

The Final EIS is now complete and it’s not good news for the health and safety of the island waters in which we, and our orcas, are trying to live. Planning to forge ahead with this project, Tesoro/Andeavor is applying to Skagit County for a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit. The good thing is, Skagit County is inviting the public to weigh in.


Safe Shippers have this opportunity to say “NO!” to xylene in our waters and insist that the EIS be amended!

When: Thursday, November 2, 2017

Where: Skagit County Commissioner’s Hearing Room, 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon

Time: Speakers’ sign-up begins at 8:30am. Hearing begins at 9:00am.

Let’s show our mainland neighbors that we islanders are fierce about protecting our islands!

We will each have 3 minutes to have our say. If you aren’t able to come to the hearing, your written comments can be delivered for you. Email your comments to the Friends of the San Juans by Wednesday, November 1. Please address your comments to: Skagit County Planning and Development Services, and include this information: Tesoro Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, FILE #PL15-0392.

If you would like to carpool to the hearing: Please contact Friends of the San Juans: 360-378-2319 or

Let’s urge our Council Members to join us in representing San Juan County at the hearing: 

Bill Watson: 360-370-7473,

Rick Hughes: 360-298-5103,

Jamie Stephens: 360-370-7475,

To submit comments on-line:

Scroll to the bottom of the page to: “How to Comment on Permit Applications and Appeals”

Include the Proposal Name or Permit Number: Tesoro Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, FILE #PL15-0392

DEADLINE FOR ON-LINE COMMENTS: Wednesday, November 1 @ 4:30pm



Here’s why:

• The EIS fails to include reasonable alternatives, including the production of low-sulphur fuels only.

• The EIS fails to analyze the project’s vessel traffic oil spill risk and marine impacts.

• The EIS fails to accurately account for all greenhouse gas emissions.

• The EIS fails to fully address the project’s impacts to the state and federally listed as endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, including impacts from vessel noise and potential xylene and propulsion fuel spills. The EIS confirms that “increases in vessel traffic could contribute to cumulative impacts.” However, recommended mitigation measures were refuted in the EIS. If the project’s impacts to our orca whales can’t be mitigated, the application should be denied.

• The EIS fails to require all project-related laden tank vessels of any size to be escorted by tugs to assure safe transit through the Salish Sea.

• The EIS fails to substantiate the claim that “the potential impacts of a project-related worst-case spill on ferry traffic would be less than significant.” Require confirmation from Washington State Ferries. Ferries are the marine highway and primary transportation route for islanders and island visitors. Grocery stores that receive all their merchandise via ferries have only approximately 2 and 1/2 days’ worth of food in stock. The loss of our ferries, even for a short time, would pose severe risks to both human health and the local economy.

• The EIS fails to require all vessels associated with the project to be accredited as “quiet” by ship classification societies. Orca whales are impacted by ship noise. At the very least, this project should be required to ensure that ship noise impacts are mitigated.



About Tesoro Xylene:

About the hearing:

Project FAQs:

“Final environmental review of Tesoro xylene project doesn’t address concerns over worker safety, tanker spills, threats to Southern Resident orcas”:

“Final study released for Tesoro refinery xylene project”:

Sonic Sea, the film:


Thank you for speaking up for Safe Shipping and a Safe Salish Sea!