Sunday, November 17, 2019

Puerto Rico Natural Resources Department umbrella now covers 3 more entities 

By on August 2, 2018

DRNA Secretary Tania Vázquez and Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (Courtesy)

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has signed Senate Bill 859 to reorganize the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico (DRNA by its Spanish initials).

The Rosselló administration estimates that the department’s consolidation will save more than $5 million after the first year and over $50 million in the next five years.

According to the reorganization plan, the duties of the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) and the Solid Waste Management Authority now fall under the DRNA umbrella, along with the National Parks Program, which formed part of the Recreation and Sports Department.

“With this law, the consolidation of the four agencies or state offices for environmental protection and our parks is now a reality, to avoid the duplication of functions. Certainly, this will represent short- and long-term savings for the Government,” the governor said in a release issued by his office, La Fortaleza.

The governor said the integration of all natural and environmental resource matters under a single agency “is a model that has been implemented successfully in other states,” according to the release.

The merger “forms part of our public policy to make the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources stronger and more efficient for the administration, protection, and conservation of our environment,” DRNA Secretary Tania Vázquez added. “The union of regulations will allow us to be more effective in our mission, having greater resources for the implementation of the statutes and regulations.”

The governor had previously signed Senate Bill 805, which implements the Reorganization Plan of the Model Forest Office, to transfer its functions to the DRNA.

The latest is one of six reorganizations passed by the Legislative Assembly, carried out under Act 122 of 2017, known as the New Government Act, to reduce government spending.

The consolidation of the Department of Public Safety, “with more than $25 million in savings in the first year; and the reorganization of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce have become law,” La Fortaleza added. “The reorganization bills for  the Department of Labor and Human Resources, the Board of Education, and the Public Service Regulatory Board continue before the evaluation of the Executive.”

The release concluded with the following statement by the governor: “In just 18 months we have completed the legislative process related to seven reorganizations that impact over 30 government agencies. In the six reorganizations approved by the Legislature, savings of over $30 million in the first year and close to $250 million in five years have been estimated.”

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