Saturday, May 18, 2019

Ceiba, Puerto Rico ferry terminal to continue operating without EPA permits

By on March 20, 2019

(Screen capture of www.facebook.com/PuertoRicoFastFerries)

Public Affairs secretary says government has no choice until achieving compliance

SAN JUAN – Anthony Maceira, the Public Affairs secretary of the Puerto Rico governor’s office, La Fortaleza, said Wednesday that the Ceiba ferry terminal in the northeast town will continue to provide trips to the island-municipalities of Vieques and Culebra even though it does not comply with Environmental Protection Agency permits on water quality.

Maceira, who is also the Puerto Rico Ports Authority director, confirmed the government has known since December about the violation.

“On December 19, 2018, the EPA issued to the Maritime Transportation Authority, which operates the dock in Ceiba, an ‘administrator compliance order’ in which it indicated that they had to comply with certain parameters of environmental mitigation to be able to comply with water quality standards and others,” Maceira said in a Radio Isla interview.

In October, when Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares inaugurated the terminal in Ceiba after closing the one in Fajardo, the EPA issued a report indicating it did not comply with the Clean Water Act, according to media reports. However, Maceira said the governor was unaware of the violation. The official said the ferry terminal had to be moved to Ceiba from Fajardo because the latter was left inoperative in after Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017 and renovations required a $30 million investment.

“That decision will not be reversed. It will continue operating in the Ceiba dock. We will continue to look for solutions to the chronic problem of Vieques and Culebra vessel services and [a] corrective action plan will be implemented in order to comply [with the
EPA],” Maceira said. “My position as spokesman for the government is that we had to move [from Fajardo to Ceiba]. We had to move,” he reiterated.

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