Above: US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh (Photo: OG)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh has submitted testimony to a congressional committee on the impact of the closure of the HOVENSA refinery on the northeastern United States.
The testimony was part of an ongoing effort by de Jongh’s administration to raise congressional awareness of the effect of the closure of the refinery, the Caribbean’s largest, on the territory.
The written statement to Sen. Bob Casey, chairman of the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, focused on the impact of the removal of 500,000 barrels of fuel per day from the Northeast region.
“As you know, the US Virgin Islands has been adapting to the sudden closure of one of the largest refineries in the Atlantic Basin, and it is encouraging to the people of the US Virgin Islands to know that this committee is concerned with the broader economic implications of the loss of refining capacity in the region,” de Jongh wrote.
HOVENSA was the US Virgin Islands’ single-largest employer and primary source of fuel.
According to the administration, the refinery’s products, gasoline and distillate, largely ended up on the US East Coast.
In 2007, the Northeast imported two-thirds of HOVENSA’s output.
“All of this is to say nothing of the catastrophic impact of the HOVENSA closure on the USVI itself, which has lost not only its largest employer and taxpayer but also its sole existing source of gasoline and the fuel oil that powers its electricity and water supplies,” de Jongh wrote in the statement.