MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Skagit County's hearing examiner has approved a key shoreline permit for a proposed project at an oil refinery at Anacortes.

Andeavor, formerly Tesoro Corp., is planning upgrades at its refinery to help it meet upcoming federal gasoline emissions regulations and diversify its products mix.

It wants to produce up to 15,000 barrels a day of a new product xylene, a chemical compound used to make plastics and other synthetic products.

Skagit County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford on Thursday approved a shoreline development permit, one of several governmental approvals the project needs. He found that it would not result in new impacts from increased marine traffic to and from the refinery.

Critics have raised concerns about increased vessel traffic, potential for more oil spills and impacts on wildlife and other natural resources.

Environmental groups are weighing an appeal.

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