83.6 F
Cruz Bay
Sunday, July 21, 2024


The Senate Finance Committee has approved four federal grant applications totaling $569,216 for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and specifically for the V.I. Energy Office and the Division of Environmental Protection.
The first grant, in the amount of $462,145, provides funding for educational initiatives associated with renewable energy technology and energy efficiency. The monies for this grant are provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Exxon Corp.
Under this grant DOE has established rebate programs that compensate individuals or businesses that invest in energy-efficient products (such as solar water heaters or appliances and lighting items) or energy-efficient services.
A list of participating companies can be obtained from the V.I. Energy Office, which requires all subject businesses to be certified as dealers of energy efficient products and services. The customer may buy products or services from a qualified dealer and, with the proper receipt, seek a rebate from the Energy Office.
The second grant in the amount of $32,500 is to conduct feasibility studies on federal buildings and determine the best way to make them energy efficient. Federal officials will conduct workshops to train personnel at those buildings to reduce the cost and consumption of energy and water in existing federal buildings.
PNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett said, "A significant portion of the government does not adhere to Energy Department mandates."
The third grant for $59,871 is to assist PNR in administering federal air quality programs.
It is an ambient air-monitoring network grant. Its objectives are threefold: to support surveys on air quality, acid deposition, drinking water, water quality, hazardous waste, toxic substances and pesticides; to identify, develop and demonstrate necessary pollution control techniques; and to evaluate strategies for use by those in economic, social, governmental and environmental management positions.
Finance Committee Chair Lorraine L. Berry directed special attention to the fourth item, the Data Reliability Grant of $14,700, which seeks to assist PNR with its Safe Drinking Water Program. Berry noted recent unsafe water problems at Sibilly School and Annex, and asked that they be investigated.
Berry also inquired about the feasibility of installing a tele-conference center at the Legislature. Efforts toward this project began two years ago. Berry said the center would save money and allow inter-island government meetings to continue regardless of weather conditions.
Comprising the quorum for the meeting were Sens. Berry, V. Anne Golden, David Jones and Roosevelt David.
Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole was the only non-committee member attending. Cole directed Plaskett's attention to two of his concerns – the contrasting gas prices between St. Thomas and St. Croix, and lighting for the ballfields at Charlotte Amalie High School and Eurdora Kean High School. Plaskett said he would have to see if these matters fall under DOE.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.