PIP denounces federal 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.
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.
“Upon these two congressmen’s reckless and shattering attitude, our obligation is to defend our people. If they care so much about AES ashes, then they should take them to their landfills in West Virginia. It’s time to stop using Puerto Rico as a guinea pig, as a laboratory, as a dump,” denounced Sen. Dalmau.
For his part, Rep. Márquez urged the Legislative Assembly to approve bills that would prohibit CCR disposal, such as Senate Bill 128 and House Bill 136, which the PIP officials filed in their respective agencies.
“We must prevent AES from continuing to look for state or federal subterfuges to satiate their unmeasurable appetite for profit by violating our laws, in detriment of health and environmental protection of our communities. It is time to stop toxic coal-ash deposits forever,” stated Dalmau.