Prepa Is Largest Source Of Contamination
NPP Legislators Denounce Construction Delays
Vizcarrando, Martin Ask U.N. To Support Puerto Rico's Self-Determination
Acevedo Vila Still Hopes For Section 956 Amendment
Gov't Negotiates Continuation Of Practices With Navy
Congress Prohibits Interstate Sale Of Fighting Cocks
Normal For Prepa To Be Largest Source Of Contamination
June 11, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) - Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) Executive Director Hector Rosario said Tuesday that it is normal for the agency's generatrix plants to be the largest source of toxic emissions in Puerto Rico due to the magnitude of their operations.
He said Prepa manages over 30 million barrels of combustible oil a year in the 80 generator units that feed the island's electrical system.
"We are, because of our operational magnitude, the second generatrix company in all the United States," the official said in a press release. "Therefore, it is natural while carrying out the inventory of EPA toxic substances that we be the Puerto Rico company with the greatest amount of emissions on the environment."
Rosario was referring to an inventory of toxic substances in the air published by the EPA that reveals that the government, especially Prepa, is the largest source of contamination on the island.
The agency chief said although several industries that use oil combustibles operate in Puerto Rico, none of them work 24 hours a day, and every day of the year, like Prepa does.
NPP Legislators Denounce Delay In Construction Projects
By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News
June 10, 2002
New Progressive Party (NPP) Reps. Antonio Silva and Jose Aponte said the Calderon administration has stalled construction activity in Puerto Rico, as it has only assigned 33% of the $564 million in public works that have been announced since January 2001.
Silva said the government has been posting bidding notices and ads of upcoming projects when it has only allocated $190 million of the money for the construction projects announced by the Department of Transportation and Public Works and the Highway and Transportation Authority.
He added that these numbers, combined with the governor's continuous appearances and public messages is just part of a ploy to conceal the weaknesses of her administration.
"They are just promotional campaigns to safeguard the governor's weak image. The truth is that there is no substance," Silva added.
Aponte and Silva said the Calderon administration has tried to feed false hopes to the leaders of the construction industry in Puerto Rico.
Silva also cited the latest figures of the Planning Board in April showing that construction activity in the public sector has dropped by 67.1% compared to the same period in 2001.
He also accused the governor of halting the projects begun by the past administration, such as Route 66 and the Urban Train, which he believes should be given priority, instead of talking of the future construction of an urban train from the proposed transshipment port in Ponce to San Juan.
"That just goes to show you the intellectual deficit that this administration has," Silva said.
The NPP representative also said the low construction activity is only reinforcing what Calderon had said during her electoral campaign, when she pledged she wouldn't continue covering Puerto Rico with cement, in an open criticism to the infrastructure work that had been started by the past administration.
"Today we see that she is making good on her promise at the expense of thousands of Puerto Rican employees and of the island economy," Silva added.
House Speaker Asks U.N. To Favor Of Puerto Rico's Self-Determination
June 10, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) - House Speaker Carlos Vizcarrondo requested the United Nations publicly favor Puerto Rico's self-determination and the ousting of the U.S. Navy from Vieques.
In a presentation before the U.N. De-colonization Committee members, Vizcarrondo suggested the celebration of a Constitutional Assembly as an ideal mechanism to make viable Puerto Rico's self-determination.
"The current Puerto Rico government, directed by Gov. Sila Calderon, will convoke the citizens to a Puerto Rican Unity Commission to evaluate the mechanisms that will allow us to exercise our self-determination," said Vizcarrondo, who was accompanied by leaders from several sectors.
Concerning Vieques, Vizcarrondo asked the U.N. committee members to support the immediate cessation of military exercises and maneuvers on the island municipality as well as the transfer of the land currently occupied by the Navy.
Vizcarrondo's expressions joins those made by the "Congreso Nacional Hostosiano," which urged the U.N. committee members to perform an on-site hearing on the alleged harm provoked by the U.S. Navy presence in Vieques.
Puerto Rico Compared With East Timor At U.N. Hearing
June 10, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) - After comparing the Puerto Rico case with that of the East Timor, a country which obtained its independence recently, Puerto Rican Independence Party Sen. Fernando Martin requested on Monday that the United Nations decolonization committee on Monday approve a new resolution supporting the island's self-determination.
In a presentation before the U.N. committee, which is in the middle of approving a new resolution on Puerto Ricos' case, Martin recognized the organization's role in the fight for decolonization.
"Those who underestimate this organization and the international laws only reflect a lack of imagination and ignorance," Martin said in his presentation.
According to Martin, the events in East Timor would not have taken such a fast turn toward achieving their sovereignty had they not had the support of the international community.
"They could not have persisted for so many years, in such adverse conditions, without the hope and support they received from the international recognition of their rights. I have no doubt that sooner or later the same thing will happen in Puerto Rico," Martin added.
The PIP leader, one of several Puerto Rican leaders who appeared before the international organization, requested that the UN committee include in the new resolution elements of the referendum held in Vieques and the legislative measures regarding a Constitutional Assembly.
Acevedo Vila Still Hopes For The Amendment Of Section 956
June 9, 2002
PONCE (AP) - Resident Commissioner in Washington D.C. Anibal Acevedo Vila said there is still a possibility that the U.S. Congress will approve the amendment to Section 956 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, which he considers to be key for the economic development of the island.
"I can assure that the legislation is not dead. It still has possibilities in Congress," Acevedo Vila said during a radio interview.
But the resident commissioner said because this is an electoral year for Congress, the legislative session will conclude earlier.
He added that for it to be considered in Congress, it would be necessary to present a tax-related bill to which the proposed amendment can be incorporated.
So far, the Calderon administration has failed to seek support for the amendments to Section 956. Meanwhile, the New Progressive Party has said the administration efforts won't succeed.
Acevedo Vila didn't rule out that a project may come up in September to allow Congress to analyze the issue.
Government Negotiates Continuation Of Practices With Navy
June 7, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) - Despite the fact that the Puerto Rico government established as a public policy the immediate cessation of bombing by the U.S. Navy in Vieques, the local Justice Department presented 12 alternatives to the military corps to make the continuation of military maneuvers viable until May 2003.
The alternatives were presented during the negotiations the local Justice Department is conducting with the Navy regarding the controversy caused when the Planning Board denied the permit to perform exercises last January, according to published reports.
Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez confirmed the information through her spokeswoman, Zulma Raices, but declined to explain the measures further. Raices only said the alternatives are aimed at "minimizing" the alleged damage the maneuvers causes to the Vieques environment.
Josefina Pantojas, member of the All Puerto Rico with Vieques organization, repudiated the government negotiations with the Navy, because among other things, no information has been given on the matter, and the Vieques mayor was not informed about it.
Congress Prohibits Interstate Sale Of Fighting Cocks
June 7, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) - The U.S. Congress prohibited the interstate transfer and sale of fighting cocks and established fines of $15,000 for offenders, which will take effect in May of next year.
The director of the Cock Affairs Office of the Recreation and Sports Department, Carlos Quiñones, said in published reports that the legislation "will have a bad effect on the cock industry" and on a certain economic sector.
According to Quiñones, breeding cocks are imported and exported regularly to keep alive an industry, which he said generates over 7,000 shows annually, moves $40 million annually in wagers, and creates 50,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Approximately 110 cockpits operate legally in Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, the official criticized that Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila for not lobbying in defense of the sport, as gathered from the congressional transcripts record, although he allegedly promised to.
New Progressive Party Sen. Kenneth McClintock said he will request public hearings on the issue to ask Acevedo Vila for an explanation.
The congressional legislation also affects producers of spurs, since Puerto Rico has the patents of plastic and disposable spurs, as well as producers of food, medicine, and veterinarians, warned cock breeder Pedro Vargas Rodriguez.
Puerto Rico is one of the major suppliers of fighting cocks in the world, cornering markets in the United States, South America, and the Caribbean.