Green Apple Renewable Fuels project

Environmental Review of renewable fuels project ends after proposal canceled

Ecology and Whatcom County ended their joint environmental review of a proposal to construct a renewable fuels facility near Ferndale. Phillips 66 and Renewable Energy Group (REG) advised the agencies on Tuesday, Jan. 21, that they are canceling this project.

This decision led Ecology and Whatcom County to cancel the comment period and public meetings regarding the proposal.

About Green Apple

Green Apple Renewable Fuels, LLC (Green Apple) proposed building a renewable fuels facility to be co-located at the Phillips 66 refinery near Ferndale. The facility would have processed fats, cooking and vegetable oils, and grease into renewable fuels.

We 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. This review would have been done under SEPA, the State Environmental Policy Act.

The proposed Green Apple renewable fuels facility would be located at the Phillips 66 refinery, just north of Ferndale in Whatcom County.

We were working with Whatcom County as co-lead agencies on the environmental review for this proposed project. The co-leads were responsible for completing a fair, thorough, and transparent environmental review of this project.

Determination of Significance and start of scoping for an Environmental Impact Statement

The co-leads reviewed all the project information and issued a determination of significance on Thursday, Jan. 16. This means the project would likely have had adverse and significant environmental impacts, and an environmental impact statement (EIS) was required. The co-leads would have studied the impacts and determined how theycould have been reduced or eliminated through mitigation. The results of this study and proposed mitigation would have been outlined in the EIS.

The first step in this process is called scoping. The co-leads asked the community, tribes, and stakeholders for input on what should be studied and how beginning Thursday, Jan. 16.

Canceled: Public comment period and meetings

The co-leads have canceled the public comment period and all public meeting that would have been held between January 16 – February 18, 2020 in order to get community, tribal, and stakeholder input on:

  • The scope of the EIS. The co-leads were looking for comments about what should have been studied, what methods should have been used and what mitigation should have been considered. Review SEPA and project documents will continue to be posted under the "Project documents" tab below despite the cancelation of he project.
  • The notice of application (NOA) was for the Whatcom County major project permit. Permit decisions would not have be made until after the EIS was completed but comments were being accepted on the application when the project was canceled. Review master project permit documents.

According to Green Apple’s checklist, the plant would have occurred within approximately 40 acres of developed and undeveloped land within the Phillips 66 property and would've included:

  • A new renewable fuel production facility
  • A new on-site hydrogen plant, adjacent to the renewable diesel production facility
  • Additions and modifications to the Phillip 66 Ferndale Refinery’s existing rail and truck facilities to support handling of animal fats, cooking and vegetable oils, and grease and renewable product logistics
  • New, separate storage tanks for the fats, oils, grease, and renewable product
  • New internal pipelines or tie-ins between existing pipelines to carry feedstock and production materials (renewable diesel, renewable propane, renewable jet fuel, and renewable naphtha)
  • Whatcom County Public Utility District No. 1 electrical substation upgrades
  • Cascade Natural Gas pipeline upgrade to natural gas supply (approximately eight miles of new pipeline co-located with current pipeline)

Potential project impacts described in Green Apple’s submittals included:

  • Increased vessel traffic
  • Filled and modified wetland habitat
  • Greenhouse gas emissions

The plant could have produced about 250 million gallons of renewable fuel products per year, including renewable diesel, with minor products of renewable naphtha, renewable propane, and potentially future renewable jet fuel. It would have used existing ship, rail, and truck facilities at Phillips 66 to receive feedstock and ship out the finished product.


Date Activity
Summer 2019 Green Apple submits draft checklist
Fall 2019 Green Apple submits revised draft checklist
Oct. 23 – Nov. 6, 2019 Pre-threshold consultation held to gather comments on project concerns
Jan. 2020

Co-lead agencies make a determination of significance and begin the scoping process for the EIS.

Phillips 66 and Renewable Energy Group (REG) cancel Green Apple Renwable Fuels proposal.

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