Skagit County Superior Court dismissed Shell Oil Refinery’s appeal of a decision that required an environmental impact statement for their proposed oil-by-rail expansion. This decision follows the Skagit County Hearing Examiner’s February 2015 ruling that Shell’s proposed project posed a significant risk of harm to people, water and wildlife.
“It’s time to stop suing each other and get down to work,” said Jan Hasselman of Earthjustice. “The community deserves an honest conversation about this project and the court has said we are entitled to one.”
California raised $630 million by selling pollution allowances one Wednesday last month, each of them entitling the buyer to harm the climate with a ton of carbon dioxide. Most of the money that was raised during the quarterly allowance auction will be used to reduce customers’ electricity bills; the rest will go to environmental projects. That same Wednesday, the Canadian province of Quebec raised $150 million doing the exact same thing.
The timing was no coincidence. The auction was held jointly. It was the result of the historic linking of two cap-and-trade programs operating in different nations, thousands of miles apart. A refinery in Richmond, Calif., can now buy its pollution allowances from Quebec. In lieu of buying an allowance needed to release a ton of carbon dioxide, a power plant operating on the banks of Quebec's Saint Lawrence River could buy an offset from a Central Valley dairy farm that kept an equivalent amount of methane out of the atmosphere.
The white ash that rained on the city of Torrance, California after a refinery explosion on Wednesday has been deemed non-toxic by city officials, but some oil industry workers and community members are questioning that claim.
Members of the USW Local 675, the union which represents workers at ExxonMobil’s Torrance refinery, believe that the ash contained chemicals that could be harmful to human health beyond general irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. The ash — something called “catalyst dust” — is made up from particles that come from a piece of refinery equipment called a fluid catalytic cracking unit, which converts crude oil to gasoline. The unit produces a fine, almost volcanic-looking ash, which is usually made up of aluminum oxide and smaller amounts of nickel and vanadium.