Fishman Haygood Trial Team Restores Drinking Water to St. Croix Residents
May 1, 2023
Fishman Haygood environmental litigators Kerry Miller, Rebekka Veith, Hogan Paschal, and Carly Jonakin recently prevailed in an injunction trial in federal court in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, restoring clean drinking water to residents. Following the start-up of a long-idled refinery, several unpermitted air releases occurred that contaminated thousands of residential properties in St. Croix, including private cisterns used for household drinking, bathing, and washing. Click here to read the 52-page ruling.
The refinery, Limetree Bay Refinery, filed bankruptcy following the releases; however, the refinery was part of an integrated terminal and oil storage facility owned and operated by a related entity, Limetree Bay Terminals, that did not file bankruptcy.
Fishman Haygood pursued injunctive relief against Limetree Bay Terminals, now operating under the name Ocean Point Terminals, in the form of providing clean and safe water to affected residents until the merits of the case are adjudicated. The court granted the injunction, finding that, as a co-permittee with Limetree Bay Refinery, not only was Limetree Bay Terminals responsible for the entire facility under the Clean Air Act (CAA) but also that the releases violated the CAA. Additionally, the court ruled in favor of the residents on trespass and nuisance claims against Limetree Bay Terminals.
The Fishman Haygood trial team is most proud that the affected residents in St. Croix can now rely on clean and safe water to drink, bathe, and wash. The team now seeks to hold accountable all involved in the fateful start-up of the refinery, including private equity heavyweights Arc-Light Capital Partners and EIG Global Energy Partners, in the damages portion of the case, so that affected residents may remediate their private cisterns and rely on those cisterns for safe, clean, potable water.