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HomeNewsArchivesGovernor, Senators Discuss What Comes Next on Hovensa

Governor, Senators Discuss What Comes Next on Hovensa

Gov. John deJongh Jr. and members of the V.I. Senate met Tuesday afternoon for a long discussion of Hovensa issues, and Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone said the most important thing to come out of the gathering was that the governor and lawmakers are all on the same page.

The four and a half hour meeting was held at the Buccaneer resort hotel on St. Croix.

A telephone conference with members of the media had been planned for Tuesday after the meeting adjourned, but Tuesday night it was postponed, with the following statement from Government House.

"The only comment we will make tonight is that the governor and the members of the Senate met for several hours today. There was a full airing of the lawmakers’ concerns as was detailed in Senator Malone’s letter of last week,” the statement said.

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Speaking by phone after the meeting, Malone said the senators had a chance to explain their opposition to the proposed fourth amendment to the Hovensa operating agreement, which they rejected Aug. 7 by an 11-3 vote.

Malone said both the lawmakers and the governor agreed that the sale of the shuttered facility to a company that will operate it as a refinery is a positive goal, but the lawmakers urged that any agreement be "more tightly written," so that there were no provisions that could be loosely interpreted.

Malone said the governor agreed, without promising to succeed, to bring those issues to Hovensa if negotiations resume.

Not all senators were able to attend Tuesday afternoon’s meeting and no system was in place to allow them to take part by telephone, the Source has learned. Malone said there was an attempt to set up a conference call, but the resort could not accommodate it.

While much of the Senate commentary during the Aug. 7 session was emotional, bordering on pugnacious, Malone said the key reason for the rejection of the proposal was that it wasn’t well written and was presented with too many questions unanswered.

Following the Senate vote, Hovensa replied that under the terms of the third operating agreement, it could not profitably operate a fuel storage facility. It said it would close its storage facility and the fuel rack which provides fuel to the territory, precipitating fears that the islands might run out of fuel as early as mid-autumn.

In a session Aug. 20, senators spoke approvingly of a request by deJongh for $5 million to fund the early stages of litigation against the company, a court fight observers have said could last 10 years. Several senators said they are not afraid to fight the billion-dollar company.

On Aug. 29 Malone sent the governor a letter outlining what he said were measures to improve the proposed amendment and make it more palatable to the lawmakers. Government officials have said they would be open to mediation, but have not announced any resumption in talks. Meanwhile the governor has been working to assure the territory’s fuel supply if Hovensa goes through with its threatened closure of the fuel rack and storage.

It was that letter that Government House said Tuesday was the basis for Tuesday’s meeting.

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Gov. John deJongh Jr. and members of the V.I. Senate met Tuesday afternoon for a long discussion of Hovensa issues, and Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone said the most important thing to come out of the gathering was that the governor and lawmakers are all on the same page.

The four and a half hour meeting was held at the Buccaneer resort hotel on St. Croix.

A telephone conference with members of the media had been planned for Tuesday after the meeting adjourned, but Tuesday night it was postponed, with the following statement from Government House.

"The only comment we will make tonight is that the governor and the members of the Senate met for several hours today. There was a full airing of the lawmakers’ concerns as was detailed in Senator Malone's letter of last week,” the statement said.

Speaking by phone after the meeting, Malone said the senators had a chance to explain their opposition to the proposed fourth amendment to the Hovensa operating agreement, which they rejected Aug. 7 by an 11-3 vote.

Malone said both the lawmakers and the governor agreed that the sale of the shuttered facility to a company that will operate it as a refinery is a positive goal, but the lawmakers urged that any agreement be "more tightly written," so that there were no provisions that could be loosely interpreted.

Malone said the governor agreed, without promising to succeed, to bring those issues to Hovensa if negotiations resume.

Not all senators were able to attend Tuesday afternoon's meeting and no system was in place to allow them to take part by telephone, the Source has learned. Malone said there was an attempt to set up a conference call, but the resort could not accommodate it.

While much of the Senate commentary during the Aug. 7 session was emotional, bordering on pugnacious, Malone said the key reason for the rejection of the proposal was that it wasn't well written and was presented with too many questions unanswered.

Following the Senate vote, Hovensa replied that under the terms of the third operating agreement, it could not profitably operate a fuel storage facility. It said it would close its storage facility and the fuel rack which provides fuel to the territory, precipitating fears that the islands might run out of fuel as early as mid-autumn.

In a session Aug. 20, senators spoke approvingly of a request by deJongh for $5 million to fund the early stages of litigation against the company, a court fight observers have said could last 10 years. Several senators said they are not afraid to fight the billion-dollar company.

On Aug. 29 Malone sent the governor a letter outlining what he said were measures to improve the proposed amendment and make it more palatable to the lawmakers. Government officials have said they would be open to mediation, but have not announced any resumption in talks. Meanwhile the governor has been working to assure the territory's fuel supply if Hovensa goes through with its threatened closure of the fuel rack and storage.

It was that letter that Government House said Tuesday was the basis for Tuesday's meeting.