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Friday, October 7, 2022


A bill authorizing a land-swap between Beal Aerospace and the V.I. government was submitted to the Legislature by Gov. Charles Turnbull Wednesday.
Under the agreement, which was reached during former Gov. Roy Schneider's administration, the government will exchange 14.5 acres of lands it owns in Est. Great Pond, St. Croix, for 14.8 acres of land in Estates Whim and Grange Hill that Beal owns.
"Appraisals have been conducted which confirm that the value of the parcels to be exchanged is favorable to the government," Turnbull wrote in a letter to Senate President Vargrave Richards.
"The exchange will enable Beal Aerospace to construct its aerospace facilities at which it proposes to assemble high-tech rocket parts and rockets," he wrote. "I believe this project will greatly benefit the territory, and St. Croix in particular, providing increased job opportunities for our people. However, without this exchange, the Beal Aerospace cannot go forward."
The Coastal Zone Commission and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources will have major roles in the development to ensure the environment is protected, Turnbull said.
Despite his administration's support for the deal, Turnbull said legal deficiencies have been identified in the deal reached by the Schneider administration and Beal on December 30, 1998.
"In his review, Attorney General Iver Stridiron has indicated his concern with several legal aspects of the transaction," Turnbull said.
Among the legal deficiencies are provisions of the Costal Zone Management Act which prohibit certain exchanges of property and the authority of some of the signatories of the deal. The deal submitted by Turnbull, however, "would be sufficient to allow the transaction to attain the level of minimum legal sufficiency under Virgin Islands law," he said in a statement Wednesday.
Turnbull urged the Legislature to take action quickly on the Beal agreement.

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