All of us are affected by the air we breathe, the energy we use, the water we drink and our waste disposal system. We count on you to help us to share information and ideas, so that we all may become more knowledgeable about our islands and coastal waters and what activities would hurt or help the islands, coastal waters, Virgin Islanders, endangered species and our planet Earth.
Our objective at greenervi.org is to create an environmental forum for Virgin Islanders, to share information on environmental issues, and to work with Federal and local agencies to find solutions to our environmental challenges in the United States Virgin Islands.
12/14/2015 Letter from the President
We at GreenerVI.org have been working to save the coral and turtles in VI coastal waters. In 2009, a few days after our letter and research to the Army Corps of Engineers was published, the VI withdrew its application to dredge the harbor and dump the spoils in Lindbergh Bay. Since then, we have been pressing federal agencies to take legal responsibility for their willful inaction.
As a regulatory agency, the EPA is legally responsible to ensure our environment is being protected. In 2009-2013, we lodged several complaints with the Inspector General’s Office which oversees the federal EPA, for failing to protect USVI coastal waters. In January 2014, the IG’s Office sent a team to the USVI, who investigated all the sea, land and air environmental issues, met with many federal and local agencies and met with us for several hours. We reviewed and furnished them with hundreds of documents.
The IG’s report was published on the EPA site on October 15, 2015, (see link) finding:
The USVI’s deficiencies place the public and environment at increased risk by allowing unmonitored or excess pollutants into the air, land, surface waters and drinking water.
The IG’s report recommends the EPA take over VI Waste Management, DPNR and WAPA, evaluate the environmental problems and fix them.
Now that we have this report from the IG’s Office, this is the plan:
- We will first write to the Administrators of the EPA and NOAA jointly, along with the coral, turtle, and endangered species groups, urging them to agree to a joint investigation of USVI coastal waters and plan for amelioration, clean-up, recolonization of coral, sea grasses, etc.
- If no agreement is reached, then we file suit under the Endangered Species Act. Since 1984, the EPA has documented extensive dumping of raw sewage and chemicals in USVI waters, and on each of those occasions the EPA was REQUIRED to alert NOAA, for the protection of the Coral and Turtles. The EPA has never alerted NOAA, even in 2010, when VI Waste Management itself was knowingly dumping hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage and chemicals over reefs in St. Croix. The EPA is in violation of the Endangered Species Act, and therefore must pay to evaluate and ameliorate our coastal waters. This will bring great revenue into the territory, and create many jobs, as well as boost the enrollment in UVI marine studies.
- We would need to pay the Coral Expert fees and the ink, paper, mailing and equipment costs of bringing suit. We ask for volunteers for ideas, resources, and to work together to flesh out the overall environmental plan, which will include recycling and closing the dumps.
- For fund raising, we are selling David Francke Paintings at Frenchtown Deli on Saturday, December 19th 2-4 p.m. $240 each!
Susan Wolterbeek, President GreenerVI.org 1A4 Estate St Peter
PO Box 306658 St Thomas, VI 00803 (340) 714-2233 susan@GreenerVI.org