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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmakers demand answers from DNER on alleged Jobos Bay environmental

The speaker of the island House of Representatives, a House committee chairman and two lawmakers representing Salinas have ordered the secretary of Natural and Environmental Resources to deliver information relevant to alleged violations and environmental crimes that have occurred at Jobos Bay.

By John McPhaul

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez, along with House Natural Resources, Environmental Affairs and Recycling Committee Chairman Edgardo Feliciano and Reps. Estrella Martínez Soto and Luis “Narmito” Ortiz Lugo, both of Salinas, ordered Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) Secretary Rafael Machargo Maldonado on Sunday to deliver information regarding alleged violations and environmental crimes that occurred at Jobos Bay in Salinas.

“The House of Representatives has before its consideration HR [House Resolution] 150, which empowers us to carry out a comprehensive study on the current condition of natural resources and environmental issues, renewable energy sources and climate change, including all environmental impact legislation and regulations and the action plans of government agencies,” the popular legislators warned Machargo in a letter.

“You are granted a term of three calendar days, which expires on Thursday, March 31, 2022, to deliver the required information. We reserve the right to expand this information requirement, as determined necessary,” the Popular Democratic Party legislators said in the letter sent to Machargo. “You must produce the documents as they are maintained in the ordinary course of the agency, being able to only organize and identify them so that they correspond to each specific object of the request.”

Among the information required of Machargo:

* The identity of the officials who have dealt with everything related to complaints, reports, environmental impact assessments carried out or dealt with by the DNER on the Jobos Bay Estuarine and Research Reserve in Salinas, with a sequence of dates and the nature of the work performed. Include a certified copy of the documents that prove this information.

* Certified copy of the short-, medium- and long-term work plan to correct the severe damage caused to the protected area located on the Camino del Indio in Barrio Las Mareas in the Municipality of Salinas.

* Certified copy of the contract of the law firm contracted by the DNER and the identity of the legal representatives who will be responsible for executing the contractual agreement and the invoices presented, if any, to begin the expropriation lawsuit involving the people who illegally reside in the Jobos Bay Research and Estuarine Reserve in Salinas.

* Number of the complaint in the Police Bureau regarding threats to employees that Machargo referred to in an interview on WKAQ 580 on March 23, 2022. Include a certified copy of the documents that prove this information.

* Evidence of any request on the DNER secretary’s part to the Department of Public Safety to request security and protection agents for the DNER management officer.

* Certified copy of the complete file on the investigation and intervention carried out by the Department of Natural Resources from 2018 to the present in the face of public complaints about environmental violations committed in the Jobos Bay Estuarine and Research Reserve in Salinas.

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