In a release issued Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it is establishing air monitoring requirements that Limetree Bay Terminals, LLC and Limetree Bay Refining, LLC must meet regarding the company’s refinery on St. Croix.
"Repeated, recent incidents at the facility have raised significant health concerns and reinforced the need for air monitors to be in place and operational," the EPA said.
“This monitoring will provide important information about emissions coming from the operations at Limetree’s refinery,” said EPA acting Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan. “EPA is in close touch with this community to be responsive to serious pollution concerns, and we will not hesitate to use our authority to ensure companies like Limetree Bay come into compliance with laws that protect clean air. At the same time, we recognize the economic importance of this business on St. Croix, and EPA stands ready to assist Limetree in understanding its compliance obligations.”
In a June 16 letter to Limetree, issued under Section 114 of the Clean Air Act, EPA is directing Limetree to develop and submit within 15 days a plan to install, operate and maintain nine hydrogen sulfide (H2S) monitors and nine sulfur dioxide (SO2) monitors on St. Croix, according to the EPA. Five of the SO2 monitors are already required by a preexisting permit. The other four SO2 monitors and all nine of the H2S monitors are being newly required. EPA’s May 14, 2021 administrative order under Section 303 of the Clean Air Act requires Limetree to arrange for an independent auditor to evaluate the refinery’s compliance with environmental requirements.
The EPA said it is working to lend relief and assistance to the surrounding St. Croix community members, many of whom have been sickened by some of the releases from the refinery.
On May 12, Limetree temporarily stopped certain refinery operations following a series of incidents that included exceedances of limits for SO2 and H2S, endangering the health and welfare of nearby communities.