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DPNR QUESTIONS EPA ON BECOMING DUMP REGULATOR

The commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources is questioning the federal government’s recent announcement that it is considering taking over regulatory enforcement of the territory’s landfills.
On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was starting a 90-day process that would determine if it was going to become the lead enforcer of solid-waste laws in the territory. The move came, according to EPA officials, after the V.I. government failed to manage solid-waste facilities according to agreements with Washington dating back to 1993, including promises to commit staff and financial resources to operate the Bovoni and Anguilla Landfills in accordance with federal standards.
The regulatory program sought by the EPA, which is supposed to be implemented by DPNR, entails permitting, inspection and enforcement of federal regulations at the Public Works-operated landfills.
But DPNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett said Tuesday that solid-waste rules and regulations have been drafted by his department and only need to be put in place by formal action of the Senate. He also said the staffing issue has been addressed and that DPNR and Public Works, with the assistance of the EPA, have $1 million in funding available to deal with hazardous-waste issues at the landfills.
Plaskett said that in light of his department's efforts to submit an acceptable regulatory program, he had a "problem" with EPA's threatened takeover.
If the EPA does decide to become the local regulatory body, Plaskett said any fines and penalties issued against violators will go to the federal government.
"I think that in itself is a critical ramification of not having the program here," he said.
EPA will hold two public hearings to discuss the possible takeover. The first will be held on June 27 at 7 p.m. at the Department of Education Curriculum Center in Tutu on St. Thomas. The second is set for 7 p.m. on June 28 at the Curriculum Center on St. Croix.
After the hearings, the EPA will make a final decision on whether to formally disapprove the territory’s solid-waste landfill program. According to the EPA, the process will take at least 90 days from May 8.

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The commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources is questioning the federal government’s recent announcement that it is considering taking over regulatory enforcement of the territory’s landfills.
On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was starting a 90-day process that would determine if it was going to become the lead enforcer of solid-waste laws in the territory. The move came, according to EPA officials, after the V.I. government failed to manage solid-waste facilities according to agreements with Washington dating back to 1993, including promises to commit staff and financial resources to operate the Bovoni and Anguilla Landfills in accordance with federal standards.
The regulatory program sought by the EPA, which is supposed to be implemented by DPNR, entails permitting, inspection and enforcement of federal regulations at the Public Works-operated landfills.
But DPNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett said Tuesday that solid-waste rules and regulations have been drafted by his department and only need to be put in place by formal action of the Senate. He also said the staffing issue has been addressed and that DPNR and Public Works, with the assistance of the EPA, have $1 million in funding available to deal with hazardous-waste issues at the landfills.
Plaskett said that in light of his department's efforts to submit an acceptable regulatory program, he had a "problem" with EPA's threatened takeover.
If the EPA does decide to become the local regulatory body, Plaskett said any fines and penalties issued against violators will go to the federal government.
"I think that in itself is a critical ramification of not having the program here," he said.
EPA will hold two public hearings to discuss the possible takeover. The first will be held on June 27 at 7 p.m. at the Department of Education Curriculum Center in Tutu on St. Thomas. The second is set for 7 p.m. on June 28 at the Curriculum Center on St. Croix.
After the hearings, the EPA will make a final decision on whether to formally disapprove the territory’s solid-waste landfill program. According to the EPA, the process will take at least 90 days from May 8.