Skagit County will hold an open house and public hearing from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday for the draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, on a Tesoro Anacortes Refinery project.

The event will be at Anacortes High School, 1600 20th St. The open house will be in the gym, while the hearing will be in Brodniak Hall.

A lottery system will be used to determine who is allowed to comment at the hearing. The lottery system is being used in case there is not enough time for everyone to comment, according to the county.

The refinery’s proposed project would involve upgrading existing equipment and building new equipment to reduce the amount of sulfur in fuels produced and enable the refinery to extract the chemical xylene to be sold as a separate product.

The draft EIS evaluates potential environmental impacts of the project and what could be done to prevent or mitigate those impacts.

The State Environmental Policy Act requires an EIS for any project that could have significant environmental impacts.

The draft EIS the county released March 23 suggests the project would have no significant environmental impacts requiring mitigation.

Though the document says there is the potential for marine vessel spills, because the odds of a major spill are low, potential spills would not require mitigation beyond procedures already in place to prevent and respond to spills, according to the draft EIS.

Public comments are being accepted until May 8.

Comments will be addressed in a final EIS, which the county anticipates finishing this summer.

The final EIS will be used as a guideline for the various agencies that would need to provide permits for the proposed project.

According to the draft EIS, 18 permits and approvals are expected to be required for the project.

Two of those permits that involve air quality are also open for public comment. The Northwest Clean Air Agency and the state Department of Ecology, which are responsible for those permits, will hold a public hearing — also at Anacortes High School — at 6:30 p.m. April 27.

For more information about the project and draft EIS, visit TesoroAnacortesEIS.com.

The draft EIS is also available for review at the Mount Vernon, Burlington, Anacortes, La Conner and Guemes Island libraries, as well as at Skagit Valley College, the college’s San Juan Center and at Skagit County Planning and Development Services.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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