Comments sought on proposed Anacortes Shell rail spur and crude oil facility

Published July 15, 2014

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a public notice announcing the public review and comment period for a proposed rail spur and crude oil facility at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery at Anacortes, Wash.  The comment period is from July 8 until Aug. 7, 2014.

The proposed project would construct a rail spur and crude oil loading/unloading facility at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes, Wash.  The project is intended to provide the existing Shell Puget Sound Refinery the capability to receive crude oil via rail from oil fields in the mid-continent of the U.S. to maintain current oil supply. 

Work would permanently impact up to 25.29 acres of a mix forested, scrubshrub and emergent wetlands, convert 0.41 acres of forested wetland to emergent wetlands, and temporarily impact about 7 acres of emergent, scrubshrub wetlands. One stream would be rerouted and sections of up to ten ditches would be placed in culverts or rerouted.  Up to one million cubic yards of material would be excavated to construct an approximately 5,000-foot-long trench for the required rail grade and spill containment pad. The work would require approximately 8,500 cubic yards of fill material to construct the rail bed and other related project elements.

The Shell refinery currently receives crude oil by ship from Alaska’s North Slope. This crude oil supply has experienced long term decline in production. The crude brought in by rail intends to replace some oil supply currently brought in by ship to maintain current production. The crude by rail shipments would consist of approximately one unit train per day, approximately six unit trains per week. Each unit train would include four locomotives and approximately 102 oil tank cars; each car would hold approximately 742 barrels of crude oil. The existing rail facilities at the Puget Sound Refinery are not designed to receive and unload crude by rail shipments.

The proposed rail spur would connect to the existing BNSF mainline, also known as the Anacortes Subdivision, starting from the BNSF mainline adjacent to South March Road and terminate near North Texas Road.  The existing BNSF mainline and siding track would be relocated approximately 50 feet to the south.  A 1,000-foot long section of drainage ditch located between South March Road and the BNSF mainline would be placed in a culvert to allow for the rail relocation.

To access the electronic version of the public notice, go to the Seattle District’s web page at and under the heading Open Public Comment Periods select Regulatory Public Notices.  Recently-issued public notices are listed in chronological order of the date of issuance.  Select and view the listing for this project.

All e-mail comments should be sent to Conventional mail comments should be sent to:  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, Attention:  Ron Wilcox, P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, Washington  98124-3755. 

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Release no. 14-034