On Thursday, the Biden Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would not reopen a key U.S. oil refinery in the Virgin Islands, despite a coming national shortage in diesel fuel that could prove catastrophic to the country.
According to the Daily Caller, the St. Croix refinery was first shut down in June of 2021 after the administration demanded a “Prevention of Significant Deterioration” permit, required by the Clean Air Act, that would prove the refinery’s capabilities of reducing air pollution if reopened. The refinery is owned by West Indies Petroleum Limited and Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation, LLLC.
The St. Croix refinery, one of the largest oil refineries in the world, was capable of producing over 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day, processing that oil into gasoline and heating oil, which is a form of diesel. Heating oil is now 65 percent more expensive in October of 2022 than it was in October of 2021, according to Bloomberg.
The U.S. currently has only about 26 days left of diesel fuel in commercial inventories, with the Energy Information Administration (EIA) admitting that one gallon of diesel now costs $1.58 more than it did in November of last year. In addition, Biden’s EPA is considering another anti-diesel plan that would make prices even worse, by forcing oil companies to store a mandatory minimum amount of diesel in their fuel tanks.
“I am committed to prioritizing the health and safety of underserved and overburdened communities across this country and holding polluters accountable,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “This will ensure protections for St. Croix by requiring the refinery to operate in compliance with environmental laws designed to protect people’s health and the environment.”
The counterproductive move by the Biden Administration reflects its far-left “green energy” approach to energy policy, which has included shutting down the sale of all oil leases on federal land, as well as stifling domestic oil production in favor of so-called “renewable” forms of energy such as wind, solar, and electric. These policies led to the spike in gas prices earlier in 2022, a crisis that was subsequently exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Although Biden has turned to raiding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as a means of temporarily reducing gas prices in order to improve his public image, gas prices have continued to rise after a brief drop, and the coming diesel shortage could spell disaster for the United States if truck drivers are no longer able to transport food and other goods across the country.