Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Puerto Rico bans coal ash dumping in landfills

World | Jul 5, 16:22

Puerto Rico's governor signed a law that bans coal ash from being deposited in landfills across the U.S. territory, though critics complained the measure does not go far enough to protect people's health.

Governor Ricardo Rossello said on Tuesday coal ash can only be used for commercial purposes if it meets local and federal environmental laws. He also announced the creation of a US$10 million company that would convert coal ash into construction material for exportation. The company is expected to start operating in a year.

"The policy of this administration is to seek commercial alternatives to create jobs and to export the ash generated on the island,'' Rossello said.

Applied Energy Systems, a company that uses mineral coal to generate power for Puerto Rico, had been depositing ash in the island's southern region. The practice sparked multiple protests, including an ongoing one that is barring trucks carrying coal ash from entering a landfill in the southern coastal town of Penuelas.

A message left with a company official was not immediately returned.-AP