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Department of Agriculture Warns Public Not To Prune Trees On Public Land

FREDERIKSTED — The V.I. Department of Agriculture said today that Bill Number 32-0062, “The Community and Heritage Tree Law of the Virgin Islands” was signed into law January 6th, 2019.

“This law protects all public trees, which are those within the right-of-way of public roads and on publicly owned land,” the VIDOA said. “Anyone wishing to prune or remove public trees must apply with the V.I. Department of Agriculture (VIDOA) via a permit application.”

Unless an individual or entity has an approved permit from the VIDOA, it is considered an offense to cause any destruction to or take any portion of a public tree, and is punishable by law.

This law is enforced by the VIDOA, the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD), and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR).

If you want to report someone unlawfully causing destruction to a tree on public property, please contact the VIDOA at 340-778-0997 or the VI Police Department 340-772-9111 (St. Croix) or 340-776-9110 (St. Thomas-St. John).

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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