The EPA is currently investigating Limetree Oil Refinery on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands after an incident caused more than 130 homes to be covered with oil.
The oil refinery, then called Hovensa, was shut down in 2012 after a series of environmental lawsuits that resulted in around $1.3 billion dollars in losses. Near the end of Trump’s presidency, his administration decided to reopen the facility, giving the facility “tremendous leeway in terms of how much it’s allowed to pollute” and offering “anything they need” to reopen quickly. The plant fully reopened on February 4, 2021, and three days later, it had already caused a huge disaster for those living in a nearby community.
On February 7, 2021, a vapor cloud of petroleum and water was released by the refinery after “extremely hot equipment was accidentally exposed to a large amount of water,” causing a flaring incident. The cloud glided over to the nearby community of Clifton Hill. Once it burst, oil starting raining down on the community, covering cars, toys, pets’ water bowls, plants, animals, and more in oil. After the incident, the facility cleaned homes and people’s possessions. They also delivered water bottles since the oil rain contaminated many people’s drinking water. However, people are still suffering the effects of the incident. One resident’s garden where she sourced a majority of her food was destroyed.
Source: St. Croix Magazine/YouTube
The Biden administration has already begun an investigation and revoked several permits. While there may be stricter regulations, the EPA does not plan on shutting down the facility. The agency recently sent a letter, interrogating the facility about the incident.
Sign this petition to tell the Biden administration to shut down this oil refinery once and for all! With a legacy of serious ecological violations, it cannot be trusted to keep the people or animals around it safe. Biden also needs to invest in St. Croix and create jobs in more sustainable fields in order to not disrupt their economy.
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