EPA Withdraws Limetree Bay PAL
On March 25, 2021, incoming EPA Administrator Michael Regan notified the U.S. Virgin Islands and Limetree Bay Terminals (LBT) that it was "withdrawing" the final plantwide applicability limit" (PAL) permit issued on December 2, 2020 to LBT. The permit had not become effective due to appeals to the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). Administrator Regan's letter further states that "this withdrawall does not require Limetree to cease operation" and that "EPA will undertake a thoughtful, timely technical and legal review of the regulatory requirements applicable to the Limetree PAL under the Clean Air Act, engage with a broad range of stakeholders, and take into consideration concerns from the nearby environmental justice community before making a final decision on this matter." EPA filed corresponding withdrawal notices with the EAB.
In an accompanying press release, EPA released further information. Specifically, it stated that "in light of information received during the permitting process and President Biden's executive orders that federal agencies review environmental actions taken during the previous administration" EPA would undertake the review highlighted by Administrator Regan. Acting Region II Administrator Walter Mugdan said that the withdrawal would "allow EPA to reassess what measures are required at the Limetree facility to safeguard the health of local communities" and exemplified "good governance."
The withdrawal of the LBT PAL permit likely represents the start or a process of ramping up environmental justice scrutiny of NSR permits.