An appeal by oil major Shell against a ruling that a proposed oil-by-rail project at its Washington state refinery must undergo a full environmental review, has been denied.
A judge made the ruling just two weeks after a crude train derailment caused a fire in North Dakota.
Shell had appealed a ruling in February from a Skagit County Office of Land Use Hearings examiner that a plan to move 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil to is 145,000 barrels bpd Puget Sound refinery in Anacortes must be completely reviewed.
Last year, the county said the project did not need that much scrutiny to get a permit, causing a number of challenges from environmental organisations.
Shell had previously sought to limit the review’s scope to exclude railroad issues overseen solely by federal regulators.
But it had said it remains committed to working with the county and other agencies to finish the permit process.
Since 2012 refining competitors of Shell have been bringing in US crudes by rail.
Shell was the last to seek oil-by-rail permits in late 2013, but by then opponents had taken notice of train crashes and safety concerns.
The rail issue is not Shell’s only concern in the state. The company also faces opponents to its plan to use the port city of Seattle to ready rigs before they travel to the Chukchi Sea off the north coast of Alaska.