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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Gutiérrez Asks EPA Region 2 To Comply With Their Policies, Do Their Job And Kill Arecibo Incinerator Project

April 10, 2017
Press Release

April 10 Groundbreaking Deadline is Today


Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke with Catherine McCabe, EPA Region 2 Acting Regional Administrator, to urge the EPA to deny a second extension to Energy Answers of their Prevention of Significant Deterioration of Air Quality (PSD) permit that would allow the company to move forward in the construction of a waste-to-energy incinerator in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.  Under the EPA’s own written policy, the agency would not grant an extension of the PSD permit without commencement of construction on the proposed site by April 10, 2017.  That date has arrived and there is no construction of the project on the proposed site.


The proposed waste-to-energy incinerator has been criticized for several reasons, including its pollution of the air, excessive use of freshwater, its limited ability to generate electricity, and the manner in which the project has been imposed on the local population, despite fierce and growing opposition. As previously reported, Rep. Gutiérrez released two letters related to the proposed solid waste incinerator project in Arecibo, Puerto Rico: one a letter from the Congressman to the Acting Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 2; and the response back to the Congressman.  Since then, the Congressman wrote another letter on April 6 to EPA Region 2 calling out once again the lack of construction and requesting a meeting about the same. As a result of this appeal, a conference call with Catherine McCabe was happened this morning.


“It’s time to kill this dirty project, once and for all,” said Rep. Gutiérrez after talking with Ms. McCabe. “The Acting Regional Administrator Ms. McCabe told me this morning that Energy Answers has not broken ground in Arecibo.  I told her then and there to not go against the agency’s own policy and to deny Energy Answers their second extension of the PSD permit.  A trash incinerator will fill Arecibo’s air with filth, strain and pollute our precious water resources and make people sick.  The energy production will be negligible and besides, municipalities are opposed to trucking their trash from all over the Island to the incinerator.”


If the Energy Answers project had financing and were viable, the company would have already broken ground. This incinerator is doomed, as it was from the beginning. An extension of the PSD permit would be a travesty of justice.”


Rep. Gutiérrez is in his 13th term representing the Fourth District of Illinois.  He is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and is the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.


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