Plans to Reopen St. Croix’s Limetree Refinery Raise Residents' Concern

"Twice bankrupt, the oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands has a troubled environmental past and a shaky financial outlook, analysts say. Still, two bidders want to restart it."

"An accident-prone oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands with a history of serious environmental violations could soon reopen under new ownership, despite strong objections from nearby communities, a litany of environmental scandals and a shaky financial outlook.

After shutting down in 2012 and declaring bankruptcy in 2015, St. Croix’s Limetree Bay refinery restarted operations under new ownership in February. But within days, the refinery began experiencing what became a series of high-profile accidents that enraged nearby residents, raining oil down on homes, contaminating drinking water and releasing hazardous fumes so pungent that officials shut down schools and offices for days.

Environmentalists saw the restart as a testament to former President Trump’s pro-fossil fuel agenda for “American energy dominance” and his administration’s penchant for granting favorable terms to well-connected corporate interests. Trump officials expressed a willingness in emails to the refinery’s new owners to facilitate its reopening, and legal scholars said the administration ignored decades of precedent in issuing new permits."

Kristoffer Tigue reports for Inside Climate News December 17, 2021.

Source: Inside Climate News, 12/22/2021