During a virtual public hearing conducted by Congressman Raúl Grijalva, on the Insular Climate Change Law, the secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) of Puerto Rico, Rafael Machargo Maldonado, was questioned about the construction of a hotel in the maritime land area on the beach of Jauca in Santa Isabel.
Asked by Congressman Jesús García, who represents the Chicago, Illinois metropolitan area, Machargo appeared to have no information and said he would take note of the matter to investigate the permits for the proposed Hotel Kontel in Jauca Bay.
The Secretary did ensure that in Puerto Rico everyone must have access to the beach and that it would be illegal if the proposed construction restricted it.
“Today the voice of Salvemos Jauca reached the United States Congress, in view of Climate Change. The Secretary of Natural Resources now has questions to answer to the Congressmen about their position regarding the proposed construction of the Kontel hotel and the DNER permits. Jauca is not alone. Every day we continue and we will continue adding voices so that all of us Save Jauca ”, expressed Luis Gutierrez, former Congressman in Washington.
For his part, Moises Marrero, spokesman for the group, criticized the begging stance of the DRNA secretary in the congressional hearings.
“It feels very ugly that all the deponents came with ideas on how to attack and mitigate climate change, from an energy and coral protection point of view. And Puerto Rico, through its director of Natural Resources, goes there to ask for money to make a plan. What is needed here is to implement the recommendations of the experts and apply or expand the existing laws of environmental protection, no more waste of money, “he said.
On the other hand, the spokespersons also welcomed the decision of the Office of Management and Permits (OGPe), to allow the participation of the community in the administrative process.
The legal representation of the Kontel Project had presented its objection to the request of the residents of Jauca for their right to express their position before the OGPe.
“We had another great victory against the Kontel hoteliers who tried to silence our voices. The OGPe stated that the community has the right to know and know about a project in their community. The fact that Kontel opposes the community knowing about what they propose and our participation shows that their intentions are petty. And the fact that they withdraw the permit (if they do so) will confirm to public opinion that we are not looking at a good neighbor ”, expressed Martín Gonzalez, petitioner before the OGPe
“It is also shown that Kontel is lying, that he wants to do things behind closed doors and with the gun and that he does not have the support of the community,” he concluded.