Shell announced yesterday that the company is no longer pursuing a proposed oil export terminal in Anacortes, Washington. The announcement comes just two days after a draft environmental impact statement was released for public comment.
The news brings a sigh of relief to North Idaho residents living near local rail lines. According to the draft EIS, "The proposed project would result in an increased probability of rail accidents that could result in a release of oil to the environment and a subsequent fire or explosion" that "could have unavoidable significant impacts."
In June, a train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed near Mosier, Oregon, and exploded into flames. The derailment led to the evacuation of a school and local residents. That train had passed through North Idaho earlier, en route to Oregon.
Had Shell’s project project been approved, an additional six oil trains would have passed through Sandpoint and other North Idaho communities each day.
Company officials dismissed public opposition to the proposal as a factor contributing to their decision. Instead, they cited the increased cost associated with the production of Bakken crude oil.