Climate Justice Begins in Places Like Saint Croix
David Bond has teamed up with residents and local environmental groups in the US Virgin Islands to hold the Limetree Refinery accountable for a legacy of environmental contamination in poor communities of color on St. Croix.
The refinery reopened under the Trump administration despite the environmental threats it causes to the island’s ecosystem. Shortly after reopening (for the first time in nearly a decade), the refinery rained a fine oil mist onto island residents, prompting further concerns that the community is gravely threatened by the operation.
“Limetree is not only one of the worlds largest refineries, it is also one of the dirtiest, most negligent, and outright criminal refineries in the world,” said Bond, whose essay for the Anthropology News formed the basis of a citizen lawsuit filed against the refinery, and helped bring new national reporting to the issue.
Bond has been commissioned to write features for the island regarding this initiative. The six-part series, exploring three moments in the past century when the present situation became unworkable and radical change became the only way forward, has been published by the St. Croix Source and the St. Thomas Source.
Bond wishes to thank Elinor Philips '22, who was instrumental to compiling this work.
In late October, 2022, David Bond and Judith Enck spoke with Washington Post reporters investigating ongoing negligence at a refinery in St. Croix. Although idled, the EPA inspectors found "a systematic lack of maintenance" at the refinery resulting in failing equipment that threatened the "imminent release of extremely hazardous materials" into frontline neighborhoods. Enck called for the EPA to bring its commitment to environmental justice to St. Croix while Bond's 2021 survey of impacts from the refinery was cited in the coverage.
Bennington College students Ahmad Yassir ‘20, Ahwar Sultan ‘22, Cedric Lam ‘22, Elinor Phillips ‘22, and Hanna Karnei ‘21 helped Bond build the survey website referenced in the article.