News Releases from Region 02
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – During a visit today to the U.S. Virgin Islands to highlight important U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collaboration with the U.S. Virgin Islands government, EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan and EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez announced the award of $10 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands for hazardous and solid waste management assistance. Of the $10 million grant, the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (VIDPNR) will receive $4 million and the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) will receive $6 million. This funding is awarded through the Supplemental Appropriation for Disaster Relief under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which provides supplemental appropriations to respond to and recover from the hurricanes. Hosted at Government House by Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and joined by Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett and USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol, the group took part in the announcement.
“This funding through EPA will have an enormous impact on this critical infrastructure need to address the solid waste crisis in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento. “We are committed to providing continued support in building capacity to implement a sustainable solid waste management program that addresses the existing needs and prepares the islands for future storm events.”
“Today’s grant award is a major step forward in our administration’s efforts to solve the territory’s solid waste crisis,” said Governor Albert Bryan Jr. “The EPA has been a tremendous partner in our efforts to improve the territory’s solid waste infrastructure, and we are grateful for their continued support.”
“EPA is working to access every eligible financial resource available to equip our U.S. Virgin Islands partners with the funding needed to solve its waste management crisis,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “This funding enables the territory to help make time-critical improvements and develop long-term solid waste management solutions. Addressing the capacity issues at the Bovoni and Anguilla landfills is a community concern and doing so is necessary to protect human health and the environment.”
“This is an important grant from the EPA and we here in the Virgin Islands want to thank them for this support,” said Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett (USVI-1). “By providing efficient waste management and recycling, the Virgin Islands can boost our reputation as a place that takes waste management seriously. Potential and existing customers will see us as a responsible and sustainable Territory that cares about the environment, the future and the population. An incredible benefit of waste management is it can cut overall production costs in the long run. Recycling helps to conserve natural resources such as glass, plastic, paper and oil. Reusing these materials will place less strain on our natural resources and lower the cost of production. This grant will go a long way in maintaining the environment in the Virgin Islands.”
(From left to right) VI Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) Commissioner JP Oriol, USVI Governor Albert Bryan, EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento and EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez announce the $10M grant to the USVI for solid waste management.
The Anguilla Landfill on St. Croix and the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas are subject to judicial consent decrees and a federal judge overseeing the matter has held quarterly hearings with the U.S. Virgin Islands government and the Department of Justice to discuss their compliance status. Under the oversight of this judge, the U.S. Virgin Islands government develops schedules for actions to further achieve compliance.
The waste produced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria largely went to the Bovoni and Anguilla landfills, exacerbating the already stressed solid waste infrastructure in the U.S. Virgin Islands. With this funding, VIDPNR and VIWMA’s waste management work plans will aid the U.S. Virgin Islands’ post-storm landfill issues to address historic shortcomings and increase preparedness for managing waste from future storms while using sustainable best practices. Work plan details include hiring and training staff, developing databases to track permitted solid waste activities, and reducing disposal costs through a waste diversion program to divert organic waste, scrap metal, and construction and demolition debris from existing and future landfills.
Throughout the process, EPA will continue to work closely to provide support to VIDPNR, VIWMA and the U.S. Virgin Islands’ government as they work with local offices and other stakeholders to establish a sustainable materials management program.
Many communities across the U.S. Virgin Islands have expressed that promoting waste reduction and recycling are key priorities. EPA shares those goals and looks forward to continued, constructive engagement with VIDPNR and VIWMA.
EPA’s solid waste information gateway can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/solidwaste
To view EPA’s U.S. Virgin Islands web page, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/vi