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VIERS Awaits Word on Repairs


May 4, 2005 – If St. John's Coastal Zone Management Committee approves, the V.I. Environmental Resource Station will get some long-awaited improvements.
The Committee met Wednesday at the Legislature building on St. John to hear from the Rick Nemeth, director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies at the University of the Virgin Islands, about its plans for the facility.
Clean Islands International operates the facility for UVI.
A public hearing on the same matter was initially called for April 26, but was postponed because the Committee lacked a quorum. It has three members instead of the allotted five, and one member, Brion Morrisette, was out of town and could not connect as planned via telephone.
Committee chairman Julien Harley said at the previous meeting that names of possible nominees were sent to Government House, but there's been no action.
James O'Bryan, assistant to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull for public affairs and policy initiatives, did not return a phone call to comment on what has happened to the nominations.
While all three Committee members were there on Wednesday, the meeting was delayed a half-hour because, Morrisette explained, the court reporter couldn't find a parking place at the Red Hook ferry dock and missed the boat.
In discussing the Environmental Resource Station's application for a major CZM permit, CZM Director Victor Somme III said it covered a master plan for the three-phase project, as well as phase one.
Nemeth said the first phase is for repairs to the laboratory at Great Lameshur Bay, including a composting toilet. The building suffered hurricane damage and was left un-repaired.
Additionally, he explained that a paper trail will be created for all chemicals used in experiments at the facility. "We will require an application from any school groups that intend to bring down chemicals," he said.
This phase will be funded through a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
Nemeth said that when this phase is completed, UVI will seek funding for phases two and three. These include adding a building adjacent to the laboratory, constructing a conference building at the inland section of the Resource Station, and improving the septic system.
The Committee will announce its decision on the CZM permit application at 6 p.m. May 20 at the Legislature building.

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