González Colón: Ruling on permits regulations could cost PR federal funds
By The Star Staff
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón said Thursday that the island government must draft an emergency regulation to take the place of the annulled Joint Permit Regulation 2020, which was invalidated by the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, a situation she said could cost the island federal funds.
“Because we could talk here, not only about lives that can be affected by projects that could have the scope to impact their lives and property, but also about the uncertainty that is created since it stops the flow of federal funds, because many of these projects require state and federal approval for the use of these funds, and could even make it so that Puerto Rico does not meet the expectations of time limits for the use of these funds,” the resident commissioner said when queried by reporters. “We are talking about the field of housing, roads and infrastructure. That could cause us to lose federal funds in unsuspected amounts.”
“Not including a lot of private paperwork,” she added. “So I think it’s outrageous what just happened.”
González Colón said the judicial action also affects river pipeline and dredging projects.
The nullification of the permitting regulations is a consequence of Auxilio Mútuo Hospital’s legal challenge of the veterans clinic that is supposed to be built near the San Juan Superior Court. The clinic project has been promoted by González Colón.
“We got these funds for this clinic, which is not for the general public, this is exclusively for veterans services that are not offered by any other institution in Puerto Rico and they are opposing that,” the resident commissioner said. “I think it’s outrageous that Auxilio Mutual continues to question federal funding for the Veterans Hospital for Mental Health.”
Her statement was made at the end of the first coastal erosion summit held in the municipality of Loíza.