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Salinas Environmental Committee: Prepa Trying to Hide Natural Gas Pipeline Plans

By on May 30, 2016

SALINAS, Puerto Rico – The Salinas Environmental Dialogue Committee said Monday that although the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) proposed by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) inidicates building above-ground natural gas pipelines, the utility’s executive director, Javier Quintana, said the plan does not contemplate these.

Víctor Alvarado, spokesman for the environmental organization, said the IRP by engineering company Siemens, which was contracted by Prepa, has an entire section on the construction of the pipelines.

“Section 4.5.2 of the IRP, entitled, ‘Natural Gas Pipelines,’ mentions a gas pipeline between the South Coast and Aguirre [Salinas], formerly known as the Southern Gas Pipeline, is technically feasible and lists the advantages of its construction,” he said.

DES PLAINES, IL - SEPTEMBER 21: A vent pipe for a natural gas underground pipeline is shown September 21, 2005 in Des Plaines, Illinois. Prices for natural gas this winter could skyrocket upwards of 70 percent, resulting from the inclement weather in the Gulf; most affected may be the Midwest according to economists and the Energy Department. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

A vent pipe for a natural gas underground pipeline in Des Plaines, Illinois. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

“It says that building a pipeline from Aguirre to San Juan is more practical than the failed and improperly called Via Verde South-to-North pipeline. It even mentions the possible use of Highway 52 from Salinas to San Juan to lay the pipeline. We do not understand the repeated attempts by Prepa’s executive director to deny what was written in black and white in their studies,” the spokesman said.

The environmental leader urged the public power utility’s administrators “to speak clearly to the country about their true intentions regarding the energy future of Puerto Rico.”

“The communities of Salinas, Guayama, Arroyo, Peñuelas and Humacao, among others, are suffering the consequences of poor decisions by Prepa in the past, and now Mr. Quintana and Prepa’s administrators want to subject us to 20 more years of pollution, conflict and confrontation on the street,” he said.

“The worst thing is they try to hide their true intentions: more coal ash, incinerator ash and gas pipelines. Since they and their families are not at risk of their decisions, it is easy to hand over the pollution problem to poor communities and workers. I am against privatizing Prepa, but sometimes it is difficult to defend them. Prepa’s worst problem is not economic, it is the lack of transparency,” he added.

The Environmental Dialogue Committee announced that the Puerto Rico Energy Commission, at the request of community and environmental organizations, will hold a public hearing in the southern region on Prepa’s proposed IRP.

The hearing is slated for June 14 at the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Ponce, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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