Senator at Large Craig Barshinger has organized a group of senators to tour an operational petcoke plant in Jacksonville, Florida.
“The Virgin Islands Community is keenly interested in the future of electric power and waste disposal in the territory,” said Barshinger by telephone from Jacksonville. “This is a big decision and we have to get it right.”
“We are preparing for an upcoming Legislative Committee meeting on the Alpine Energy Group’s plan to provide the territory with two combined petcoke and waste-to energy electricity plants,” Barshinger explained.
Senator Barshinger, who Chairs the Committee on Economic Development, Energy and Technology, will tour the St. John’s River Petcoke Power Plant in Jacksonville, Florida, along with members of his committee, Senator Sammuel Sanes, Senator Nelly O’Reilly and Senator Michael Thurland.
The power plant tour was designed to allow senators to see a petcoke plant in operation and talk to managers and engineers about the realities of burning petcoke and coal to generate electricity. Their discussion will include how the plant works, the economics of burning petcoke to meet electricity needs, the handling of petcoke ash and by-products, the environmental effects of burning petcoke and other matters of interest.
Senator Barshinger and members of his committee will use the information gained from touring the facilities during the senator’s upcoming committee meeting on January 13 in the Earl B. Ottley Legislative Hall in St. Thomas.
In this meeting, members of the Economic Development, Energy and Technology Committee will take testimony from government officials, corporate executives, members of non-profit and community groups and individuals on the proposed plan to burn petcoke and waste in the Virgin Islands as a primary source of electricity.
“My staff has arranged a broadly-based panel of testifiers,” said Barshinger. “I encourage all Virgin Islanders to educate themselves on this important issue, and to participate in the hearing if possible.”
During the hearing, senators will ask questions of the testifiers. Virgin Islanders who listen by radio or watch by television can send their questions to any senator on the floor to ask on their behalf.