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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 19, 2022
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Trash to Energy

Dear Source:
The answer to helping solve our waste disposal problems is not fees but the use of common sense. We live on Islands. Because of that we must import just about everything. We have an energy crisis and we need to reduce the cost of producing energy. We have a golden opportunity to solve both problems with out spending a penny.
Since the early 70's many areas of the United States have built trash to energy plants. These facilities take trash of EVERY KIND, burn it and produce energy. In the process, they extract the metals and plastics, clean and de-tox all materials and ship them off and sell them at a profit. The by-product of the burning is steam energy which turns generators. If the government and the PSC would approve, private firms would be more than glad to build the plants at their own expense. All the government would have to do is give them the land.
We are under federal mandate to close landfills and to find better ways to get rid of our trash, especially toxic trash like tires, batteries, etc. Why not profit from it?
The landfill sites are the perfect government-owned places to build such facilities. In addition to the daily trash removal, the existing landfills already trash to burn. When the landfill "mountains" are finally gone, the government would have huge tracks of land left as the trash to energy plants take up about a quarter of the space needed for a landfill. That land could then be used for recreational facilities, schools, etc
This is a win-win for everyone. Since WAPA's burden is lessened, they would burn less fuel and the savings would be passed on the consumers. We would not have to pay enormous fees to get rid of our trash as we would have none to get rid of. The waste to energy plant would be exporting the saleable metals, etc, providing power to the grid and making a profit on waste. This would eliminate any need to tax any imports. We should have at least one on each island if not more. On St John, such a plant could be the power source for the whole island-for FREE!
Of course, politics will cause this common-sense approach to not come to fruition because the entrenched companies that are now hauling trash, dumping it and exporting it from our shores will be affected. WAPA may oppose it because it might mean job losses. In the past, trash to energy companies have tried but failed to get the government to start this kind of project, mostly because of politics. Go on the internet and see the success stories. These plants are not only environmentally friendly, they are efficient! I would suggest to all citizens to start thinking about trash to energy. Perhaps you can convince your representatives to consider it also.

Paul Devine
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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Dear Source:
The answer to helping solve our waste disposal problems is not fees but the use of common sense. We live on Islands. Because of that we must import just about everything. We have an energy crisis and we need to reduce the cost of producing energy. We have a golden opportunity to solve both problems with out spending a penny.
Since the early 70's many areas of the United States have built trash to energy plants. These facilities take trash of EVERY KIND, burn it and produce energy. In the process, they extract the metals and plastics, clean and de-tox all materials and ship them off and sell them at a profit. The by-product of the burning is steam energy which turns generators. If the government and the PSC would approve, private firms would be more than glad to build the plants at their own expense. All the government would have to do is give them the land.
We are under federal mandate to close landfills and to find better ways to get rid of our trash, especially toxic trash like tires, batteries, etc. Why not profit from it?
The landfill sites are the perfect government-owned places to build such facilities. In addition to the daily trash removal, the existing landfills already trash to burn. When the landfill "mountains" are finally gone, the government would have huge tracks of land left as the trash to energy plants take up about a quarter of the space needed for a landfill. That land could then be used for recreational facilities, schools, etc
This is a win-win for everyone. Since WAPA's burden is lessened, they would burn less fuel and the savings would be passed on the consumers. We would not have to pay enormous fees to get rid of our trash as we would have none to get rid of. The waste to energy plant would be exporting the saleable metals, etc, providing power to the grid and making a profit on waste. This would eliminate any need to tax any imports. We should have at least one on each island if not more. On St John, such a plant could be the power source for the whole island-for FREE!
Of course, politics will cause this common-sense approach to not come to fruition because the entrenched companies that are now hauling trash, dumping it and exporting it from our shores will be affected. WAPA may oppose it because it might mean job losses. In the past, trash to energy companies have tried but failed to get the government to start this kind of project, mostly because of politics. Go on the internet and see the success stories. These plants are not only environmentally friendly, they are efficient! I would suggest to all citizens to start thinking about trash to energy. Perhaps you can convince your representatives to consider it also.

Paul Devine
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.