Our Governor has shown the strong convictions and lack of knowledge of many subjects concerning the wellbeing of our community: from placing untrained family and friends into leadership positions to the decisions being made now concerning the current and future priorities of our community.
Our community is at a “fork in the road.” We have a near bankrupt government, a very serious deficit in our government retirement system and a serious reduction in income due to the historical lack of attention to our dwindling tourist industry. Now we have been devastated by natural disasters. At this moment. the Federal Government is willing to help. Our Governor and the leaders of our community need to start to understand that they need to plan for our future as well as cleaning up and repairing the current damage. We need to start this process now, to handle enormous amount of waste generated by the storms and for the wellbeing of our community.
In mid-October the Governor named a “Hurricane Recovery Task Force” to aid in the recovery and preparation for the future of our community. One of the members was Judith Enck, past Regional Administrator of the EPA. Ms. Enck has been in the Territory many times presenting ways to a better administration of our wastes and in general has been able to have little impact. Hopefully, now we can use her resources and expertise to create a system to handle our wastes now and in the future.
The Environmentally Sound Standard of the order of waste management is: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Energy Recovery and Disposal.
Let’s salvage everything we can from the current disasters and move forward to become a functioning Community.
11/11/17 post from the Governor’s office:
“Responding to calls for the construction of a waste energy facility in the Territory, Governor Mapp said: “I restate my full opposition to waste energy facilities in the Virgin Islands. I have challenged everyone that has come before me … to identify … a plant that exists anywhere on U.S. soil that has been permitted by the (Environmental Protection Agency) EPA for waste energy.” He stressed such a facility would require significantly more tonnage of waste than what is produced in the Virgin Islands.”
“An analysis of a compilation of over 330 WTE plants in Europe by the International Solid Waste Association showed that there are about 170 small scale plants in Europe. It was determined that 84 plants (nearly 25% of the total number of plants included in the ISWA survey) have an annual capacity of less than 50,000 tons and another 85 plants range in capacity from 50,000 and 100,000 tons. The total capacity of these small scale plants is just over 8.5 million tons of feedstock combusted.”
Information from Scientific American
“There are currently 86 waste-to-energy facilities in the United States. According to the Energy Recovery Council, they provide 2,700 MW of clean electricity on a 24-hour-per-day, 365-day-per-year basis — enough to power about 2 million homes.
From the sidewalk, there’s almost no evidence that behind the walls of the energy-from-waste plant in Alexandria, Va., an incinerator is burning garbage at more than 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit and providing electricity to thousands of homes.
“Everything that the resident puts out on the street in a trash can comes here,” said Bryan Donnelly, the facility manager. At his location, that amounts to about 350,000 tons of municipal waste per year.
The plant, built in 1988, processes garbage from all of Alexandria and Arlington, Va., and some parts of the District of Columbia and Maryland. Heat from the high-temperature incineration of waste, which company representatives call a ‘clean burn,’ runs a generator that puts 23 megawatts of electricity back on the grid — enough to power 20,000 homes.
The facility is owned and operated by Covanta Energy Corp., one of the leaders in converting solid waste into energy, with 41 plants in North America. On average, the company produces 550 to 750 kilowatt-hours of electricity per ton of waste, said Chief Sustainability Officer Paul Gilman. While the power comes from burning garbage, there’s a big difference between a traditional incinerator and what Covanta does, he said – ’we’re a power plant.’
“We have the same waste hierarchy as the E.U.: reduce, reuse, recycle, energy recovery and disposal,” said Gilman. “[This] is that step we call the ‘fourth R.’ After you reduce, reuse and recycle that, you take the step of energy recovery before you put it in the ground.”
But Covanta’s Gilman said the real savings are in reducing landfill methane emissions. For every ton of waste that goes through the facility, he contends, a ton of greenhouse gas emissions is avoided. Two-thirds of the incinerated material is biomass. The remaining one-third is essentially a fossil fuel.”
Carbon savings come from the offsetting of methane emissions that would have been released if the ton of waste had gone to a landfill. Methane is 21 percent more potent as a global warmer than carbon dioxide.
Sweden now imports about 700,000 tons of garbage per year to help produce electricity and heating for cities such as Helsingborg, a historic coastal hub of about 100,000 people in southwestern Sweden.
Information from the US Department of Energy
NREL is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC.
Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308, Waste to Energy Evaluation: U.S. Virgin Islands; Jerry Davis, Scott Haase, and Adam Warren; 13 Table 4. MSW and Cost Data; State Number of WTE Plants Avg WTE Tip Fee ($/ton)
Alabama 1 $25.00
Connecticut 7 $64.00
Florida 12 $52.95
Iowa 1 $64.00
Massachusetts 7 $69.00
Minnesota 9 $55.00
New Hampshire 2 $69.00
New Jersey 5 $85.00
New York 10 $72.34
Washington 3 $98.00
Wisconsin 2 $51.00
BioCycle, The State Of Garbage in America, December 2008
A general finding of this evaluation is that WTE operations, if implemented appropriately, serve a beneficial role in an integrated solid waste management program for a community. The appropriateness of WTE for a community must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and should only be considered after waste reduction and responsible recycling programs are implemented.
Greg Miller, St. Thomas