Not the first time Limetree is facing issues with permits and other regulations. As the country is shifting towards renewable energy resources, the policies and regulations are being more stringent. Last month, EPA withdrew the company’s clean air act permit.
Last month, Limetree hired Neil Morgan as refinery general manager. Though this has nothing to do with the ongoing violation. In the interview with the media, LimeTree Bay’s CEO, Jeff Rinker spoke about how delighted they are to have Neil Morgan on board.
Interestingly, in the same speech, he mentioned, “Neil’s extensive industry and leadership experience perfectly positions him to lead the refinery in its next phase of operations and to further Limetree Bay’s commitment to environmental stewardship.”
“Commitment to environmental stewardship” was a questionable statement, considering that the island’s residents fell ill. When Agency staffers arrived on the island for an investigation, a strong odor prompted them to investigate further.
Limetree promises lower sulfur emissions
When questioned about the odor, Limetree Bay replied saying that the odor was not from a gas leak. Their factory is located among communities with schools and regular citizens.
Eventually, the violation can to the limelight. And Limetree tree responded by saying their current operations are much better, unlike the earlier ones. As said by them, “The former refinery operator was required to perform area monitoring, but that requirement was linked exclusively to their burning of sulfur-containing residual fuel oil, which Limetree Bay does not do.”
SO2 exposure harms the respiratory system
As said by EPA, even short-term exposure to toxic sulfur dioxide (SO2) can cause damage to the respiratory system. Leading to breathing issues and other permanent problems.
As said by EPA, “The measurement of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere is key as it helps us assess air quality. And the data are used to oversee regulated facilities to ensure that appropriate control measures are in place to reduce people’s exposure to the gas.”
As the US is the world’s largest fossil fuel producer, the issues with air quality tag along. In low-lying areas or poverty areas, environmental quality control wasn’t of much interest to many in the past decade. Also, a bad smell like rotten eggs or a bad odor is something normal in such areas.
More or less, companies like Limetree Bay are used to ignore the policies and regulations in the past. However, under Biden’s administration, many things are moving fast.
Despite everything, the company is allowed to run, emitting limited sulfur dioxide gases. Even after receiving permission to run, the company failed to follow the guidelines.
As said by the agency, “The level of the exceedances, the composition of the releases, the duration, and cause of the incidents. The corrective actions are taken or to be taken, the potential public health impacts, and how to best prevent future incidents.”