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Rep. Méndez says ash deposit bill “doesn’t solve the problem”

By on December 3, 2016

According to House Speaker-elect Carlos “Johnny” Méndez, Senate Bill 340 regarding carbon ash deposits “doesn’t solve the immediate problem” for people that reside near the Peñuelas landfill, which is used for dumping ashes from Applied Energy Systems (AES), located in Guayama.

House Speaker-elect Carlos "Johnny" Méndez speaks during a press conference about amendments to the Puerto Rico Civil Code, currently discussed in the Special Legislative Session convoked by Gov. Alejandro García Padilla. (Cindy Burgos/CB)

House Speaker-elect Carlos “Johnny” Méndez speaks during a press conference about amendments to the Puerto Rico Civil Code, currently discussed in the Special Legislative Session convoked by Gov. Alejandro García Padilla. (Cindy Burgos/CB)

Senate Bill 340 was included in the special session summoned by Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, informed this morning Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) senator and author of the measure, María de Lourdes Santiago. The PIP senator was arrested in the past weeks for protesting along a group of citizens against carbon ash deposits in Peñuelas Valley Landfill (PVL), blocking entrance to trucks carrying the toxic waste.

On the contrary, an amendment to the contract with AES for the ashes not to be deposited in the island would be an immediate solution, according to Méndez.

“The senator’s bill doesn’t solve the immediate problem of citizens there [in Peñuelas]. It talks about eliminating these emissions and residues and the deposit for 2027; the use of carbon for 2027. We need attention now. Why did the governor or [Puerto Rico] Electric Power [Authority] officials amend the contract and eliminated the ash disposition that couldn’t be made in Puerto Rico?,” expressed the New Progressive Party (NPP) legislator.

Read more: Rosselló: AES ashes to be deposited outside Puerto Rico

Despite his criticisms to the bill, the representative was asked if the NPP House delegation would be willing to vote in favor of the measure in the special session, which ends Dec. 6—although a second session may be summoned, according to the governor.

“The problem here is that they are summoning for the session but the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) delegation doesn’t come. So no measure will be approved if the PDP isn’t here. Our delegation is present every session day. But we won’t have the NPP delegation approve the governor’s agenda when the governor didn’t even take us into consideration for that meeting,” he responded.

 

“We won’t have the NPP delegation

approve the governor’s agenda”

 

Although several days ago Méndez said this was an issue best left for federal authorities, on Friday he was open to the possibility of overseeing a bill regarding carbon-ash deposits, as proposed by Governor-elect Ricardo Rosselló.

The incoming House Speaker insisted that carbon-ash deposits is solved by amending the contract with AES.

“It’s an executive matter. These are the problems the executive causes and then wants the Legislature to solve it. This is an executive issue that is solved with a contract amendment,” he indicated to the press in the Puerto Rican Woman Plaza, in the Capitol’s southern wing.

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