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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senate votes to include Vieques in environmental preservation fund

By The Star Staff

Carolina District Sen. Marissa “Marissita” Jiménez Santoni announced on Monday the approval of Senate Bill 571, which includes the offshore island municipality of Vieques as a participant in the Permanent Fund for the Environmental Preservation of Culebra.

“I thank my fellow senators for endorsing this initiative that brings justice to the residents of the island municipality of Vieques,” said Jiménez Santoni, who authored the bill. “When the Fund was created, it was done under the premise that Culebra is unique, but Vieques also has its unique tourist charms. It is time for both island municipalities to benefit from the scope of this law.”

Law 293-2004, better known as the “Permanent Fund for the Environmental Preservation of Culebra Law,” established a permanent fund to finance environmental preservation and maintenance work in Culebra, thus making possible a permanent alternative to allow, among other things, a payment source for the disposal of solid waste generated by the thousands of visitors to the small island municipality.

The bill to include Vieques in the fund passed unanimously (22 votes in favor and none against) in session last Thursday.

In the evaluation of the measure, Vieques Mayor José Corcino Acevedo said “indisputably, our island of Vieques has ample reasons for its ecological integrity to be conserved and protected, just as the legal framework through Law 293-2004, supra, already protects the island of Culebra.”

“Therefore, Vieques and Culebra, including their keys and surrounding waters, require a recurring source of economic resources that is destined to annually pay for all the studies, work, expert personnel and expertise necessary to achieve the aforementioned ecological conservation of our natural resources,” the mayor said.

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