28 January 2017

Puerto Rico Independence Party (PIP) denounces federal (U.S.) lobbying for coal ash disposal in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) legislators Juan Dalmau and Denis Márquez scrutinized an “indignant and scandalous” Congress-issued letter addressed to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, which lobbied to continue depositing coal ashes in Puerto Rico’s landfills.

Congressmen David B. McKinley and Alex X. Mooney from West Virginia sent a letter on January 17 asking the island’s chief executive to oppose legislations aimed to curb the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCRs) in local landfills, after controversy ensued last year over its health and environmental impacts on neighboring communities.

Rep. Denis Márquez and Sen. Juan Dalmau, of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, affirmed that the local government must not succumb to federal pleas and prohibit coal ash deposits.

Márquez and Dalmau, of the local House and Senate, respectively, accused the federal officials of “intimidating” the governor and “responding to the interests of Applied Energy Services (AES),” a plant in Guayama that generates about 1,000 tons of ash daily that was in the middle of the Peñuelas Valley Landfill dispute that crossed party lines.

The pro-independence legislators affirmed that Puerto Rico can and should impose stricter CCR disposal laws, denouncing that the island’s “colonial subordination” is threatening to impose itself in this environmental issue. They insisted the local government must rebuke the congressmen’s “despotic” attitude, and place the people’s interests above federal pressure.