Should Washington become a petrochemical highway?

Should Washington become a petrochemical highway?

Thursday May 04, 2017

In recent years, the Pacific Northwest has seen one proposed fossil fuel export project after another. Coal, crude oil, liquefied natural gas, and propane are all bad enough. But now -- the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, WA is planning a massive, $400 million expansion of their refinery to produce a highly toxic lightweight crude oil byproduct called xylene, used for plastics and polyester. Community resistance has defeated earlier proposals, but we need you now to ensure this new export scheme is also smashed on the rocks of Washington’s Thin Green Line.

Tesoro’s not just in it for the xylene, either. The refinery expansion could lead to more oil train traffic and would guarantee many more tankers in the Salish Sea. It’s no coincidence Tesoro proposed this project at the same time they were lobbying Congress --successfully-- to drop the crude export ban. They’ve got a $400 million camel’s nose, and our shorelines are the tent.

But, this isn't just about saying “no” to a dirty petrochemical project. Stand.earth and our allies are also pushing for the future that we want. Opposition to oil trains and pipelines has evolved into resistance to most fossil fuel infrastructure. And, even more exciting, we're seeing an evolution of opposition to fossil fuel projects into support for clean energy.

We've been pushing hard to require the refinery to fully offset it's climate impacts with local clean energy development. Our proposal would mean a major increase in energy efficiency at thousands of homes and small businesses in Washington. That kind of project would be a huge boost to the local economy, far larger than the handful of jobs promised by the refinery expansion. In addition to that important work, we've also been building a coalition with local labor leaders to encourage that these clean energy projects pay living wages.

There is a path to a clean and just energy future. We just have to push policymakers to realize and support it.