In the V.I. Port Authority Board’s first meeting of the new year, one item on the agenda facing the projects and operations committee seems to remain an enigma, the timely and final closure of the Anguilla landfill on St. Croix.
In his report to the board on Wednesday, Committee Chairman Robert O’Conner Jr. reported that V.I. Waste Management had been in contact with the Federal Aviation Administration in the hopes of extending the Anguilla landfill closure, originally scheduled for 2016, and possibly extending the final capping of the landfill an additional four years.
What was of concern to attending board members was the circuitous route taken to place its request, being submitted through the offices of the Environmental Protection Agency as opposed to previous requests made directly to the FAA.
“The FAA is open to possibly approving an extension, but not pleased that the request came through the EPA office,” said Port Authority legal counsel Don Mills.
Mills also stated that the Port Authority would agree to an extension “if the FAA did.”
The disposal of solid waste was halted in 2012 after the opening of the new St. Croix transfer station at Peter’s Rest. The new facility requires refuse to be bundled and wrapped upon drop-off. Residents may use the new facility or one of the island’s other collection centers.
In a statement released Thursday, WMA Executive Director May Adams Cornwall expressed her concern that the request for extension might not adequately reflect the efforts made by the authority.
“I am concerned with the impression which may be left with some that the authority has been dilatory in our effort to permanently close the Anguilla landfill,” said Cornwall.
Cornwall said the authority had its engineering consultant prepare alternate landfill closure designs to maximize the remaining available space, and, “as a result, we disclosed to VIPA that the proposed date for the placement of a final cap on the landfill was extended beyond the June 2016 date included in the FAA-approved VIPA lease with the VIWMA.”
Cornwall said that “as a signatory to the consent decree then being negotiated, VIPA joined with the VIWMA in seeking FAA approval of the proposed extended date for the final cap.”
The FAA is currently withholding capital grant funding to the Port Authority for work on the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport pending the final closure of the landfill. The potential attractions of birds pose a possible flight hazard.