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EPA Visits VI

>> Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fig. 1Not related to visit, but they ARE in the VI. :D
The EPA is celebrating their 40th birthday. Part of the celebratory festivities included a visit to the Virgin Islands. The reason for the visit? Well, they help a public conference in St. Croix to talk about air quality in the USVI and to discuss methods of waste reduction, which is an ongoing issue here. Underlying many of the things discussed was the urgent need for job creation and economical effects locally.

The conference brought up two very valid suggestions for waste management in the VI, hoever, true to VI form, instead of viewing the two suggestions as a tag-team effort to better things, it became more of a battle in "one vs. other" style. The two suggestions were a waste to energy project and a reduce-reuse initiative. They were brought to the table by Alpine Energy Group and Dr. Paul Connett, author of "Zero Waste for Sustainability," respectively. To quote the Virgin Islands Daily News article:
In the first discussion of the day, it was clear where the people stood.

Reduce, reuse vs. waste-to-energy

As the two presenters each approached the podium separately, it was clear by the audience reaction that they favored Paul Connett, the author of "Zero Waste for Sustainability" over those who represented Alpine Energy Group's waste-to-energy project.

While healthy and respectable applause was offered the Alpine representatives, Connett received a loud ovation.

Connett's position was that, through education and community buy-in, the territory can expect to divert a large percentage of waste from its landfills within 18 months.

The idea, which is similar to that being promoted by the EPA's V.I. Recycling Partnership initiative, is to reduce the amount of waste produced while increasing the amount that is reused through recycling and composting.
At the end of it all, though, it was clear that the people of the VI are very aware that something needs to be done. The EPA made is stance clear, as well, informing of the measure taken to reduce cruise ship emissions between islands. This is important for us as mroe cruise ships visit St. Thomas more than any other Caribbean port. THere will be new requirements placed on HOVENSA as well. There was a consent decree filed by the EPA agaisnt HOVENSA require upgrades to reduce emissions. WHy are these things so important to a small island territory? To quote EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck, "More cruise ships visit St. Thomas than any other place in the Caribbean. By protecting your land, your air, your water, you will ensure that tourists will come back."


To read the details of the visit, read the article at Virgin Islands Daily News and to see what the EPA has succeeded in doing the past 40 years, click here.

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