Schumer And Velázquez Joint Statement On Puerto Rico Oversight Board’s Fiscal Plan Calling For Easing Of Environmental Regulations

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) released the following joint statement on the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board’s Proposed 2021 Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico calling for the easing of environmental regulations:

April 30, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) released the following joint statement on the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board’s Proposed 2021 Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico calling for the easing of environmental regulations:  

“Hours after President Biden rallied the world to address climate change in his Joint Address to Congress, it is extremely concerning to learn that the Proposed 2021 Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico released by the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board calls for the easing of environmental regulations for the island. For instance, the plan proposes to accelerate construction permitting by expanding the types of businesses and construction projects excluded from required environmental impact reviews. The Board proposes that Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA) should change their established regulations to exempt some projects from environmental impact assessments. This could have serious consequences of promoting unrestrained construction development with negative environmental consequences on an island with already limited land resources.

“Puerto Ricans have long fought to protect their natural resources. From the fight to shield the island of Vieques from U.S. Navy bombings, to preserving the flora and fauna on El Yunque, to fiercely advocating for free and open access to the beaches, Puerto Ricans understand that the environment must be protected for generations to come. Especially in the aftermath of devastating climate-change accelerated disasters like Hurricanes Maria and Irma, we cannot afford to be so reckless with environmental policy.

“It is ultimately the government of Puerto Rico and the Legislature of the island that has the authority to legislate and implement a permitting process as well as the rules of doing business. While the Fiscal Oversight Board may set out a vision in their proposed FY 2021 Fiscal Plan, we encourage all who value the protection of Puerto Rico’s unique beauty to push back on such proposals that could ultimately hurt the environmental conservation of the island. From Congress, we will continue to provide necessary oversight and push back against austerity measures that threaten the future of the island we all love.”


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