Due to the exhaustion of cash, Limetree Bay is holding a meeting with investors before announcing the indefinite suspension of the refining business, but CEO Jeffry Rinker and other stakeholders were unable to persuade investors to invest more in the refining business. More funds. There are many reasons why investors are hesitant: the Environmental Protection Agency is closed for 60 days—an almost unprecedented action; too many lawsuits; resistance from environmental organizations and even hostility from local lawmakers.
Another major factor: According to people familiar with the matter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office threatened to conduct a criminal investigation of the refinery business through a letter to Mr. Link. According to the person, the threat further frightened potential investors. According to the person, Mr. Rinker stated that the threat was so serious that he had to disclose it to lenders. It is still believed that the most important reason for investors’ refusal to inject more capital into Limetree Bay is the current state of shutdown.
The specific content of the criminal investigation is unclear. A request for comment from Limetree Bay was not immediately answered. In response to inquiries from the consortium, U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert said: “I cannot comment.”
Governor Albert Bryan stated in multiple press conferences that after the flare incident on May 12, he told Limetree officials to stop operations immediately or face anger. “The last time there was a fire, I called the refinery and told them to shut it down or they would pay a heavy price. They did it,” Mr. Bryan said at a press conference last week and reiterated that he was in What was said at the previous press conference (watch the clip here).
Many people questioned whether the EPA would take action if Mr. Bryan did not order Limetree to stop refining. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stated that as Limetree’s multiple improper operations pose an imminent risk to public health, unprecedented actions have been taken. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered an extension of the shutdown period under Section 303 of the Clean Air Act, which gives federal agencies the power to take such drastic measures when an entity “seriously endangers public health, welfare, or the environment.”
Mr. Bryan has been working behind the scenes to get the EPA to lift the shutdown of the refinery after Limetree Bay meets the requirements. He also talked publicly about the importance of Limetree Bay to the economy of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and more importantly, St. Croix, where hundreds of middle-income jobs are being lost.
In a statement announcing the indefinite closure, Mr. Link talked about the lack of funds to continue operations as the culprit. “This is an extremely difficult decision for us, and we really regret to announce the suspension of the refinery restart plan,” he said. “Our employees have shown great commitment and dedication in restarting the refinery, and we continue to be proud of their hard work. Unfortunately, given the extreme financial constraints the company faces, this is our only choice.”
Limetree Bay said it will begin preparations for the extended shutdown of the refinery, which includes the safe removal of gas from all installations and the removal of any residual oil and products in the pipeline.
The oil storage terminal at Limetree Bay will not be affected by the refinery’s decision to suspend and restart, and will continue to operate.
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Post time: Aug-20-2021