Governor Albert Bryan Jr. issued the following statement about the potential for the St. Croix refinery to assist the United States in its national gas price relief efforts:
“The United States faces unprecedented challenges on the energy front. Supply chain issues associated with the pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and general inflationary pressures in the economy have all contributed to roil turmoil in energy supplies and markets. As a result, gas prices have hit record highs in the United States.
“The Biden Administration is doing what it can to try to moderate gas prices, including releasing one million barrels of oil a day from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. But there are other things the Biden Administration can easily do to help increase supply and lower prices.
“The United States Virgin Islands, a Territory of the U.S., is home to a major oil refinery on St. Croix which could process more than 200,000 barrels per day of petroleum into much needed gasoline and other fuels. The refinery’s convenient strategic location on St. Croix would make delivery to the East Coast of the United States simple and fast. The refinery has new owners that are anxious to make the necessary investments and efforts to restart it. They are working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] on the necessary steps to ensure that the refinery can operate safely and without threats to public health and the environment in St. Croix.
“I urge the Biden Administration to prioritize this effort and to take every step possible to reopen the St. Croix refinery as soon as possible. The United States Virgin Islands can be an important part of the solution to high gasoline prices. This is an economic issue and a strategic national security issue.
“The US EPA must work to ensure that the refinery does not endanger public health, but it should not put unnecessary roadblocks in the way of restarting this important asset. The refinery is a key element to the economic sustainability of the Territory and that element should be part of environmental justice considerations for the US Citizens resident in the Territory. The St. Croix refinery can produce nearly four million gallons of gasoline every day, as well as much needed jobs and economic development in the Virgin Islands.
“We want to work with EPA to ensure that the refinery restarts safely and promptly, and we need the Administration’s help to do that.”