CHRISTIANSTED — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region II discovered thousands of gallons of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) during a recent inspection at the St. Croix refinery operated by Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation.
The EPA inspection revealed approximately 32,500 gallons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) that had not been previously reported, signifying a major oversight in regulatory compliance.
At a virtual community meeting held on Thursday, EPA Region 2 Response and Prevention
Branch Chief Doug Kodama detailed the findings, underscoring the serious nature of the
violation by Port Hamilton.
The EPA’s ability to effectively monitor and ensure safety is heavily reliant on accurate reporting from facilities. This unreported LPG, a fuel gas containing hydrocarbon mixtures, usually odorless without specific additives, was not disclosed in the inventory provided by Port Hamilton, leading to significant concerns about the refinery’s commitment to transparency and environmental safety.
This revelation follows a sequence of corrective actions initiated in 2022, after a ‘Clean Air
Act’ general duty clause inspection identified concerning areas. An order of consent was
subsequently issued to Port Hamilton, resulting in the removal of hazardous materials, including anhydrous ammonia, amines, and LPG. However, the recent discovery of additional
LPG casts doubts on the thoroughness of Port Hamilton’s compliance and reporting practices.
In response to these developments, Senator-At-Large Angel Bolques Jr. expressed deep
concern over the refinery’s practices and the potential implications for environmental safety.
“The discovery of unreported LPG at the Port Hamilton facility is not only a breach of trust
and responsibility but also poses a significant risk to our environment and community,” Senator Bolques said. “Port Hamilton must adhere strictly to environmental laws and regulations. This incident highlights the need for more stringent oversight and transparency in the operations of such facilities. We must ensure that environmental protection remains a paramount priority in all industrial activities.”
EPA Region 2 Administrator Lisa F. Garcia emphasized the stringent requirements for the
refinery’s potential restart, including a 90-day advance notice and detailed information
submission to the EPA and the federal District Court.
The recent findings have raised additional concerns regarding the possibility of other
undisclosed materials at the refinery. The EPA is addressing these apprehensions with utmost
seriousness, as reflected in Kodama’s commitment to a comprehensive finalization of the
inspection report. The goal is to ensure that no further undisclosed materials are present at
the facility, prioritizing environmental safety and adherence to regulations.
The EPA is in the final stages of completing the inspection report, with plans to release a
version to the public shortly. The agency is dedicated to maintaining rigorous oversight and
ensuring that Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation meets all environmental laws and