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hundred of violations

Our Communications with EPA Head Office in Washington

This email thread is based upon the EPA letters in our Current Crises Page

From: Susan Wolterbeek
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 1:58 PM

Dear Vincent:

Thank you so much for your immediate response and concern. Attached are my letters to the EPA, NOAA, and the US Attorney’s Office. Please go to  and you will see many other documents, press releases, articles, etc. on these subjects. We desperately need the help of the EPA, NOW!! What follows is my letter of March 2, 2011 to Judith Enck, which has received no response, although it was also sent to several of her people, who asked me if she had responded yet, so I know absolutely that she got it. It was also in our local newspaper, and she has a clipping service. I appreciate your getting someone to respond to me now, because the silence is deafening, and our territory is in crisis.  Thank you, Sincerely, Susan

Non-responsive Messages from EPA Region 2 & EPA Head Office & our reply:

From: Bowen.Vincent, EPA

Sent: Friday, March 18, 2011 11:34 AM

To: Susan Wolterbeek,

Subject: Fw: 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage, per day, dumped in our Caribbean coastal water and terrible Air pollution

Follow-up from regional office

—– Forwarded by Vincent Bowen/DC/USEPA/US on 03/18/2011 11:32 AM —–

From: Bonnie Bellow/R2/USEPA/US

To:     Vincent Bowen/DC/USEPA/US@EPA

Cc:     George Pavlou/R2/USEPA/US@EPA, Lisa Plevin/R2/USEPA/US@EPA

Date:  03/18/2011 11:19 AM

Subject:        Re: Fw: 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage, per day, dumped in our Caribbean coastal water and terrible Air pollution

Thank you for reaching out to us.  We are well aware of Susan Wolerbeek’s concerns, and have worked closely with her.  In fact, she is a member of the VI’s Recycling Partnership, a group created during the past year by our Regional Administrator to address serious solid waste concerns throughout the Virgin Islands.  I believe that Ms. Wolterbeek participated in a meeting of the group several weeks ago. We are also well aware of the ongoing sewage discharges.  During the week of March 1, I was in the Virgin Islands with the RA, along with other EPA technical experts, and we visited the site of a pump station that has had many failures. The issue was discussed at meetings with high level VI officials during our visit.

We will look into the status of the March 2 letter to the RA and make every effort to respond quickly. I am out of the office today, but you can reach me next week at 212-637-3660.

Bonnie Bellow

Director, Public Affairs Division

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

(212) 637-3660

Our Replies to the EPA Thread Above

From: Susan Wolterbeek
Sent: Friday, March 18, 2011 6:26 PM
To: Bowen.Vincent

Dear Mr. Bowen:

Thank you for the update. Bonnie’s reply is interesting. Yes, they know of my concerns, but they do not respond to any of my concerns. I do not understand what “working closely” is, because I have had no response to these issues for over a year. They admit they are well aware of these sewage discharges- but the dumping continues. They may have spoken with “high level VI officials”, but neither the EPA or those officials deign to give any information to us citizens who keep asking why these massive violations of federal law are allowed to continue. This is killing our coral, our turtles and our tourism.

In my many letters to the EPA, I have raised what amounts to hundreds of counts of violations of federal criminal and civil law, and Region 2 refuses to even answer my letters. This is not “overwhelming transparency”, or even basic professionalism for a federal agency to refuse to answer citizens’ letters focused on violations of law, begging for relief from the dumping of raw sewage.  Perhaps with the home office’s input from you, now they will finally reply to my letters.

I am asking you to stay on this, please, and bring it to the attention of Lisa Jackson. Clearly, by the facts presented to you, and not disputed by Region 2, THEY ARE NOT RESPONDING TO MY LETTERS, and raw sewage discharges are a regular occurrence here, at a rate of 1.2 million gallons a day, into what were crystal clear Caribbean coastal waters. So far I have had no reply to my letter of March 2, 2011 or even May 17, 2010, besides “we’re looking into it.”  If you go to our website, you will see more articles/notices/letters/photographs which I gleaned from the internet. Jim Casey, our local EPA rep, has all the facts and figures as to the discharges.

Sincerely,     Susan Wolterbeek


From: Susan Wolterbeek
Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2011 10:06 AM
To: Bowen.Vincent
Subject: protocol for the EPA

Dear Mr. Bowen:

Re-reading Ms. Bellow’s statement to you from Region 2, I really am stunned by the Director of  Public Affairs’ clear attempt to be disingenuous with the head office of the EPA. How can Region 2’s willfully ignoring my letters and legal analyses, with hundreds of proven violations of criminal and civil law, be construed as “working closely with” me?

This dumping of millions of gallons of raw sewage has been a part of a federal district court consent order since 1985,  yet Region 2 willfully refuses to stop VIWMA’s dumping and WAPA’s polluting, bring a contempt order, or even bother to acknowledge or answer my pleas to help the people of the Virgin Islands. If  Ms. Bellow states she will make every effort to respond quickly to my letter of 2 ½ weeks ago…does that mean waiting another 2 ½ weeks for this “quick” response, or a month, another year?

For the past year, while I have been pressing this issue, the EPA has not properly regulated VIWMA, and under the Endangered Species Act, which I urge you to review, Region 2 of the EPA is itself liable. I have been trying to work with the federal agencies on these matters, and for a federal officer to be disingenuous about Region 2’s relations with an honest, concerned citizen is directly in contravention to EPA’s mandate and ethics. Will the head office of the EPA do anything to help us, inform us, and stop this polluting?

Sincerely,    Susan K. Wolterbeek


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