Sard Verbinnen & Co. handles the bankruptcy of St. Croix-based Limetree Bay Refining, which has run afoul of US environmental regulators.

The US Environmental Protection Agency ordered the temporary shutdown of the US Virgin Islands facility after its gas releases contaminated local drinking water, forced the shutdown of a school and sickened the locals.

The Justice Dept. on July 11 filed a complaint in federal court that alleges the Limetree refinery, which was once the largest in the western hemisphere, “presents an imminent and substantial danger to public health and the environment.”

Limetree filed for Chapter 11 on July 12, saying the bankruptcy was necessitated in part by the recent temporary suspension of its refining and processing operations “and the indefinite suspension of its plans to restart the refinery due to severe regulatory and financial constraints.”

CEO Jeff Rinker said those constraints “left us no choice but to pursue this path, after careful consideration of all alternatives.”

The Chapter 11 process “provides Limetree with the clearest path to maximize the value of our estate for our stakeholders while safely preparing the refinery for an extended shutdown,” he added.

Sard Verbinnen’s Kelly Kimberly and Brandon Messina represent Limetree.