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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Gutiérrez Asks EPA Region 2 to Hold Energy Answers’ Feet to the Fire on Arecibo Incinerator Project

March 31, 2017
Press Release
April 10 Groundbreaking Deadline Approaches

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) 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.  The purposed waste-to-energy incinerator in Arecibo, Puerto Rico has been criticized for several reasons, including its major impact on public health, the environment, its minimal impact generating energy, little economic contribution, and the manner in which the project has been imposed on the local population.

In his original letter dated March 2, 2017, Rep. Gutiérrez asked Acting Regional Administrator Catherine McCabe to clarify the policy on extending environmental permits to Energy Answers, the company proposing the project, and asking EPA Region 2 to not extend the permits.  If not granted an extension, the Prevention of Significant Deterioration of Air Quality (PSD) permit that would allow the project to move forward would expire if Energy Answers does not break ground by April 10, 2017.

In her letter back to the Congressman on March 16, 2017, Ms. McCabe assures the Congressman that there has not been action to extend the PSD permit and that Energy Answers indeed has until April 10, 2017 to commence construction of the project.

“I think this project is bad deal for the people of Puerto Rico and American tax payers.  Public health,   air quality and the environment will be significantly and negatively impacted if it is built,” said Rep. Gutiérrez, who has often been engaged in issues of concern to the people and environment of Puerto Rico, where his parents were born and where much of his family lives.

“We are getting close to a deadline that is going to  delay and hopefully kill this project and that’s good news for Puerto Rico, American tax payers and the planet,” the Congressman said.  “I am very proud of the activists and plain, everyday residents who have made it clear that Arecibo does not want the project.”

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