St. Croix Refinery That Rained Oil On Neighbors Shuts Down Indefinitely

"Limetree Bay Refining, facing tens of millions of unpaid bills and multiple class-action lawsuits, leaves the island with an uncertain future"

"Limetree Bay, a massive oil refinery in the Caribbean, announced Monday that it is ceasing operations following a number of catastrophic errors that rained oil droplets on St. Croix, sent residents to emergency rooms after noxious gas releases and raised fears among homeowners that their drinking water was laced with toxic chemicals.

The plant, which had closed a decade ago under a previous owner after toxic spills helped push it into bankruptcy, was plagued with problems from the start after the Trump administration granted it permission to reopen in February.

“Limetree had a very high rate of environmental violations over a very short period of time,” said Judith Enck, a former Environmental Protection Agency official who monitored the plant under the Obama administration. “It was an environmental catastrophe unfolding in real time.”

The refinery’s pollution impacts on Black and Brown people in communities that surround it quickly emerged as a priority under President Biden, who made environmental justice a major focus of his climate agenda. In May, the EPA ordered the refinery to suspend operations for 60 days as it weighed whether it had become “an imminent threat” to people’s health."

Juliet Eilperin and Darryl Fears report for the Washington Post June 21, 2021.

Source: Washington Post, 06/22/2021