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Sunday, September 25, 2022


Proposals to ban incinerators, increase air pollution fines, and create fish farms were all approved Monday by the Senate Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection.
The first proposal, sponsored by committee Chairman Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, would ban, with a few exceptions, the incineration of solid waste in the territory.
"This legislation came about as a result of a basic concept which is 'Clean air, clean water, a basic human right, '" Donastorg said. "I believe it's important that we try avoid adopting any kind of technology here in the territory that may pose a danger to public health in any way."
One of the exceptions in the bill allows the territory's hospitals to continue to use incinerators for the next five years, while officials identify and install an alternative method of waste treatment. A second exception allows residents to continue burning certain types of yard waste.
Officials from the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources did not give extensive testimony on the merits of banning incineration and there was no representative present from the Department of Public to discuss Gov. Charles Turnbull's plans to overhaul the territory's waste treatment system.
However, DPW employee Rohn Creque, who testified as a private citizen, sharply criticized incineration, saying incinerators have caused problems in the British Virgin Islands.
"The incineration project in Tortola is a devastation," Creque said. "There is no way that you can get incinerators to dispose of any biodegradable in an environmentally safe . . . manner."
The second bill passed increases the fines for air polluters and strengthen the territory's air pollution laws. The final bill authorizes DPNR and the Department of Agriculture to conduct a feasibility study of establishing fish farms, and other forms of aqua culture, in the territory.
All three bills will now go to the Rules Committee for further consideration.

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