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Lack of Funding, Antiquated Facilities and Deficient Equipment Burden Waste Management, Director Says
The V.I. Waste Management Authority has encountered numerous challenges in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which generated nearly three times as much waste as the territory typically generates in a year, Executive Director Roger Merritt Jr. said on Thursday.
The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority plans to offset 60 to 80 percent of generation through renewable energy resources within the next three to five years, bringing the utility in compliance with the law.
The Coastal Zone Management Committee remained undecided during a meeting on Tuesday about a permit request to demolish a non-functioning water feature within Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas and replace it with a gazebo.
To negate a long-standing debt owed to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the Virgin Islands Port Authority requested Senate approval for a disposition of property.
Although Senators' main action at Thursday’s Finance Committee hearing was to advance a bill appropriating $15 million to the Waste Management Authority for outstanding debts to waste haulers, lawmakers also took the time to address the public about keeping the U.S. Virgin Islands clean.
The U.S. Virgin Islands has struggled with tire disposal for over a decade, with countless reports of discarded tires showing up in mangroves, tucked into lush island vegetation and piled high in back streets.
Senators of the Rules and Judiciary Committee moved eight bills forward on Thursday, holding two additional bills in the committee for further discussion. Three of the approved bills focused on government responsibility and appropriation of funding.
Several testifiers shed light on the ongoing Department of Planning and Natural Resources permitting issues at Thursday’s Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee hearing, pointing out that projects like the floating bar Lime Out don’t require Major Land Permits vetted by the Coastal Zone Management Commission.
Employees of the V.I. Waste Management Authority who work with dangerous chemicals are not eligible for hazardous retirement benefits because of an action that should have been taken 10 years ago but was not.
The V.I. Coastal Zone Management Committee on Thursday approved Coral World Ocean Park's request to change their permit, allowing the park to take in four more dolphins. Under the revision, Coral World will increase its dolphin population from four to eight.
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