June 14, 2021

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Representative alerts that regulation to prohibit deposit of toxic ash includes waivers for AES coal company

The PIP legislator also questioned the duration of waivers that AES could receive

Photo: CyberNews

THE CAPITOL – The Secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), Rafael Machargo Maldonado, accepted in a public hearing held by the Committee on Natural Resources, Environmental Affairs and Recycling of the House of Representatives, that the recently approved regulation for the prohibition of the The coal ash deposit has a section on exemptions that the coal company AES could request and would apply to any prohibition in the regulation, said Representative Denis Márquez Lebrón.

After “more than a year violating Law 5-2020” (which mandated the creation of said regulation), the DRNA approved on May 10 the “Regulation for the Safe Management and Commercial Use of Coal Combustion Residues” said the legislator for the Puerto Rican Independence Party in a written statement.

Faced with Márquez Lebrón’s proposal that the AES company could request exemptions from many of the activities that are prohibited by law and regulation, Machargo Maldonado argued that it would have to have a greater cause to be granted.

“Where does it say in the dispensation part about the major cause?” Asked Márquez Lebrón.

Machargo Maldonado replied that “no, that is not there.”

The PIP legislator also questioned the duration of the waivers that AES could receive, which according to the Regulation, could last up to two years.

“How can it be written in a Regulation, Mr. Secretary, that the period will be as short as possible? In other words, AES could have a waiver, of multiple actions that are there, for 3 months, for 6 months, for 1 year and a half, for 1 year and 10 months, ”said Márquez Lebrón.

Machargo Maldonado insisted that there must be a greater force, for example, that due to a hurricane the boats could not reach Puerto Rico.

“In the definition of major cause, and in the definitions of the regulation, and in Rule 35, is all this properly clarified?”, Márquez Lebrón insisted again.

“We would have to check that,” Machargo Maldonado answered sparingly.

For the representative of the PIP “it is inconceivable that after more than a year to approve the regulation, the DNER still has to collate this issue of waivers.”

“The community itself requested, during the public hearings of the regulation, the elimination of these dispensations. After the disastrous record that the AES company has in our country, we cannot be giving it opportunities to continue contaminating and poisoning the health of our people. We will continue fighting with the communities to remove this criminal enterprise from Puerto Rico, ”said Márquez Lebrón.

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