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Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery (date unknown). Photo courtesy of Phillips 66

Whatcom County responds to news of canceled Green Apple Renewable Fuel project

Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery (date unknown). Photo courtesy of Phillips 66
Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery (date unknown). Photo courtesy of Phillips 66

FERNDALE, Wash. — Phillips 66 and Renewable Energy Group officials announced January 21st they were withdrawing from the permitting process that would have led to the building of a 250-million-gallon-per-year renewable diesel facility within the Phillips 66 refinery.

Permitting delays and uncertainties were cited as the reasons behind the decision. They had been working with Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) and Whatcom County Planning & Development Services to obtain the necessary permits.

Since being announced in November 2018, the Green Apple Renewable Fuels facility project had progressed to a public comment period regarding the required environmental impact statement and community meetings had been scheduled for early February in Anacortes, Ferndale and Bellingham.

Whatcom County issued the following press release January 24th in response to the news.

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According to Ecology, they “were at the start of the environmental review process, which occurs before any decisions are made on permits Green Apple would have needed to build and operate the plant.”

According to the Whatcom County website (page has been removed since the project was canceled), “The Department of Ecology & Whatcom County (co-lead agencies) have determined that the proposed Green Apple Renewable Fuels facility may have likely adverse impacts on the environment and are launching scoping for an environmental impact statement.”

Announced back in November 2018, the Green Apple Renewable Fuels Facility, a joint effort between Phillips 66 and Renewable Energy Group, would make diesel fuel from waste fats, oils, greases, animal fats and cooking oil. The facility would have been located within the Phillips 66 facility located at Lake Terrell and Unick Roads and made use of existing refinery tank storage, marine dock and rail and truck access.

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  1. Gordie Thomas Gordie Thomas January 26, 2020

    Typical Whatcom County handling of projects that provide wages for many people. It has happened many times in the past with no consideration for the fact that living wages are what pays the taxes. The liberal attitude and actions Wacom county officials making it nearly impossible to acquire permits to do anything here. The continuous move to disallow any development that is not to their liking is nothing new it’s been going on for years and is getting worse. With this government in place there is no one to pay the taxes except the people living here and they can’t do that if they can’t earn a living wage. It’s time for the people that make these ridiculous decisions to pull their head out of the sand and take into consideration what the majority of the people want not what only they want.

  2. Gayland G. Gump Gayland G. Gump January 26, 2020

    Since when has not poisoning our planet been a bad policy. Jobs at any price is not a long term solution. How about rebuilding our ecology to restore fishing or sustainable forestry as a solution. Could we find ways to build solar based energy systems in lieu of fossil based energy systems and let that be our future? Why continue to let the industries that have led us into the current environmental crisis continue to dictate our future?

  3. Dennis Nerwith Dennis Nerwith January 26, 2020

    Well now, fishing boats and logging equipment that runs on solar power or batteries? I think not. This greenish waste oil recycling and refining operation would have been run on the same footprint as an existing refinery. That’s about as good a situation as one could ask for when it comes to a new source of fuel for the very vehicles that our modern existence depends on, big rigs, trains and ships. Oh well, now those jobs will go to some other community that is more realistic on environmental compromises and more motivated to attract employers. It appears that Whatcom County and perhaps all of WA is headed for the same fate that California is starting to face. All sorts of cool environmental programs and bennies for the “less fortunate”, and nobody left working to pay all the taxes.

  4. Scott Sticklin Scott Sticklin January 27, 2020

    Hard to tell how serious Philips 66 was about actually building this plant. Just as likely it was largely a PR effort to greenwash their image.

  5. Wynne Lee Wynne Lee January 28, 2020

    Curious why my comment was deleted after being up a few days.. It met your guidelines

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