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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesDPNR Preparing to Fine Hovensa For Recent Leaks

DPNR Preparing to Fine Hovensa For Recent Leaks

The V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources is preparing to issue a notice of violations to Hovensa for emissions that occurred in September and again last Thursday, according to Government House.

The notice will impose monetary fines against the refinery and require a corrective plan to prevent or at least minimize the chances of more such airborne oil releases.

“I am very concerned by this string of emission incidents that we have witnessed since September 17th, and Thursday’s incident appeared to have been the most severe, causing several hundred people to seek medical attention and which forced the closure of Central High School for two days,” deJongh said in a statement. He said he is also concerned about the effect that these incidents have on the health and safety of people who live and work downwind of the refinery and those who work on the Hovensa site.

“Hovensa is an extremely critical part of our economy and its presence is overwhelming in our community’s affairs, but what happens behind the fence is also crucial to what takes place in the wider community. The government must be in a position to determine that, on a regular basis, the refinery is doing all that is required to reduce the frequency of these emissions, deJongh said.”

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On Saturday, deJongh directed DPNR Commissioner Robert Mathews to give an assessment of steps “that must be taken to further enhance the government’s monitoring capabilities of the refinery.” Mathes will also help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with an operational assessment of the refinery.

DeJongh said he expects, as part of this process, Mathes will report back on what the government can do to step up its monitoring of the day-to-day activities at the refinery.

“I want to make certain that the refinery is operating as efficiently as possible and as safely as possible to cause minimal disruption in the lives of residents and visitors on St. Croix,” deJongh said.

On Saturday, deJongh spoke with John George, the interim Chief Operating Officer of Hovensa, and will be meeting with Mathes next week to continue looking into the causes of the incidents with an eye toward corrective measures, according to Government House.

DeJongh said he is also considering whether to contract with an oil refinery expert to conduct an assessment of the Hovensa refinery operations and make an independent review of operations and impact on the lives and well being of those who work on the refinery site.

“I would likely wait until after the discussions between Commissioner Mathes, Hovensa and the EPA to determine whether this next step is required,” he said.

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The V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources is preparing to issue a notice of violations to Hovensa for emissions that occurred in September and again last Thursday, according to Government House.

The notice will impose monetary fines against the refinery and require a corrective plan to prevent or at least minimize the chances of more such airborne oil releases.

“I am very concerned by this string of emission incidents that we have witnessed since September 17th, and Thursday’s incident appeared to have been the most severe, causing several hundred people to seek medical attention and which forced the closure of Central High School for two days,” deJongh said in a statement. He said he is also concerned about the effect that these incidents have on the health and safety of people who live and work downwind of the refinery and those who work on the Hovensa site.

“Hovensa is an extremely critical part of our economy and its presence is overwhelming in our community's affairs, but what happens behind the fence is also crucial to what takes place in the wider community. The government must be in a position to determine that, on a regular basis, the refinery is doing all that is required to reduce the frequency of these emissions, deJongh said.”

On Saturday, deJongh directed DPNR Commissioner Robert Mathews to give an assessment of steps “that must be taken to further enhance the government’s monitoring capabilities of the refinery.” Mathes will also help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with an operational assessment of the refinery.

DeJongh said he expects, as part of this process, Mathes will report back on what the government can do to step up its monitoring of the day-to-day activities at the refinery.

“I want to make certain that the refinery is operating as efficiently as possible and as safely as possible to cause minimal disruption in the lives of residents and visitors on St. Croix,” deJongh said.

On Saturday, deJongh spoke with John George, the interim Chief Operating Officer of Hovensa, and will be meeting with Mathes next week to continue looking into the causes of the incidents with an eye toward corrective measures, according to Government House.

DeJongh said he is also considering whether to contract with an oil refinery expert to conduct an assessment of the Hovensa refinery operations and make an independent review of operations and impact on the lives and well being of those who work on the refinery site.

“I would likely wait until after the discussions between Commissioner Mathes, Hovensa and the EPA to determine whether this next step is required,” he said.