Following two major incidents in the US Virgin Islands that spread noxious gases and a chemical-filled vapour cloud over surrounding communities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a “notice of violation” to a massive oil and gas refinery. The notification was issued by the EPA on Monday because Limetree Bay Refining failed to operate five monitoring stations to track air quality around its facility, which is a major source of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, the organisation neglected to maintain a meteorological tower. The agency said in a statement, “A major source of air pollution, such as Limetree Bay of Virgin Islands, is subject to controls under its air permits. Limetree Bay may be liable for civil penalties and required to take actions to correct the violations.”
The EPA was notified by a Limetree employee on Feb. 16 — more than two weeks after the plant reopened — that the air monitors were not being used, according to the notice. Sulfur dioxide can damage the human respiratory system if exposed to high levels for a short period of time. Asthmatics, especially children, are particularly vulnerable.