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Puma Energy Caribe Agrees to Clean Up Caribbean Petroleum Site Under an Agreement with EPA; Will Also Address Environmental Problems at Gas Stations Across Puerto Rico

Release Date: 05/02/2011
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov; Brenda Reyes, (787) 977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) Puma Energy Caribe, LLC has agreed to clean up the former Caribbean Petroleum Refining facility in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and address environmental conditions at 147 gas stations throughout Puerto Rico under two agreements proposed today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Puma intends to purchase the petroleum storage facility, now known as CAPECO, and the gas stations after successfully bidding $82 million to acquire the facility at a court-ordered bankruptcy sale. On October 23, 2009, a catastrophic explosion and fires at the CAPECO facility caused tremendous damage to the facility and significant environmental impacts. In August 2010, Caribbean Petroleum Refining, Caribbean Petroleum Corporation and Gulf Petroleum Refining Corporation filed a Chapter 11 petition in United States Bankruptcy Court to liquidate their assets. Puma is voluntarily entering into the agreements to clarify and resolve its future environmental responsibilities at the CAPECO facility and the gas stations, subject to purchasing the properties. EPA is receiving public comment on the proposed agreements until May 9, 2011.

“The environmental work that will be conducted by Puma Energy Caribe under one of the proposed agreements with EPA will make substantial progress on the ongoing cleanup of the CAPECO facility,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “Cleanups and improvements at the gas stations are additional actions that will provide public health and environmental benefits to people throughout Puerto Rico.”

Under the first agreement, Puma will perform cleanup work at the CAPECO facility under the federal Superfund law, which governs cleanups of closed or abandoned hazardous waste sites. The work includes asbestos abatement, removing and disposing of hazardous and ignitable material and cleaning up acidic water that has leaked onto the ground in one section of the facility. Puma has also agreed to pay EPA’s costs in overseeing the cleanup work.

Under the second agreement, which is also being signed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Puma has agreed to assume responsibility for compliance with federally-approved Commonwealth regulations governing the underground petroleum storage tank systems at 147 of the gas stations that are currently owned or leased by Caribbean Petroleum Corporation. In addition, Puma has agreed to operate the gas stations in accordance with these laws and make certain EPA-recommended improvements to leak detection and overfill protection systems at the gas stations go beyond what is required by the regulations.

The proposed agreements can be viewed online at: http://www.epa.gov/region2/agreements_with_prospective_purchaser_puma_energy_caribe.html

The agreements are also available for public review in San Juan at EPA’s Caribbean Environmental Protection Division, Centro Europa Building, 1492 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Mezzanine Level, Santurce, and at EPA’s New York City office, 290 Broadway, 18th Floor Records Center.

Written comments concerning the Superfund agreement should reference EPA Docket No. CERCLA-02-2011-2003, and should be sent by email to kolenberg.beverly@epa.gov or by overnight mail to Beverly Kolenberg, Assistant Regional Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 17th Floor, New York, N.Y., 10007-1866.

Comments concerning the RCRA Agreement should reference the RCRA Index Number RCRA - 02-2011-7504, and should be sent by email to perez.rudolph@epa.gov or by overnight mail to Rudolph Perez, Assistant Regional Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 16th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10007-1866.

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