EPA Poses Questions to New St. Croix Refinery Owners to Make Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Determination

On March 22, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a letter to the West Indies Petroleum Limited and Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation LLLP, the new owners of the St. Croix refinery (Refinery). The letter addresses permitting requirements for the Refinery under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) regulations — and offers insight into the agency’s current practice for evaluating PSD requirements when a source seeks to restart a permitted facility. At issue is whether the Refinery must obtain a new PSD permit before starting operations, and the EPA advises the Refinery that it seeks additional information regarding past and future changes to process and emission units in order to evaluate this issue and make a final determination. Among other things, the EPA seeks more information regarding (i) Refinery average utilization rates during 2021, (ii) physical changes to the process and emission units since 2018 and the expected capacity and potential to emit each PSD pollutant at each such unit, (iii) the planned timeline to restart the Refinery, and (iv) the products the Refinery plans to produce in the next five years. The EPA strongly recommended to the new ownership not to proceed with startup until the agency concludes its PSD applicability review.

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