Delegate Donna Christensen (D-USVI) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) are calling on the U.S. Energy Information Administration to analyze the closing of the Hovensa oil refinery on St. Croix, according to Christensen’s office.
In a letter to the agency, Christensen and Waxman — Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee — expressed concern about the decision to idle refining capacity in St. Croix, "as it would surely impact the supply of petroleum products and lead to increased energy prices for consumers in the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as the Gulf and East Coast regions," according to a statement from Christensen’s office. The two representatives also asked EIA Acting Administrator Howard Gruenspecht to include the U.S. Virgin Islands in the EIA’s forthcoming analysis regarding the reduction of refining activity and the impact to petroleum markets.
“This is the first of many initiatives with federal agencies that I will be undertaking to address the Hovensa closing,” Christensen said in the statement. “I have also been in communication with the White House, the Department of Labor, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior and others, as we determine what the federal response to the closing will be,” Christensen said.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), a division of the Department of Energy, collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment. The EIA recently published a brief entitled “Reductions in Northeast Refining Activity: Potential Implications for Petroleum Product Markets” at the request of the Philadelphia Congressional delegation as several refineries have closed or will likely be permanently closing in the near future.
The implications of the Hovensa refinery closure will be included in the more detailed analysis and should be released in February, according to Christensen’s office.