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EPA to Hold Public Meeting and Public Hearing on Air Permit for Arecibo Solid Waste Incinerator

Release Date: 05/14/2012
Contact Information: Contact: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664; rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 14, 2012) – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing that it is accepting public comments on its proposed action to approve an air permit to construct a garbage incinerator in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Energy Answers International, Inc. has proposed to construct a new 77 megawatt facility at the former site of the Global Fibers Paper Mill in Barrio Cambalache, Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

The EPA encourages public participation and input in this decision. The EPA will host a public availability session to allow an informal opportunity for the public to learn about the proposed permit. This session will be held on May 23, 2012, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm in the Theater of the University of Puerto Rico at the Arecibo campus, which is located in the Business Administration building of the University. The address of the campus is Carretera 653 Km. 0.8 Las Dunas Sector, Arecibo. The EPA will provide simultaneous translations between English and Spanish.

In addition, the EPA will hold a formal public hearing on June 25, 2012, from 6:00 pm until the last speaker has been heard. The hearing will also be held in the Theater of the University of Puerto Rico at the Arecibo campus. Comments given at this hearing will be part of the official public record and will be considered as comments on the air permit. EPA encourages all interested parties to participate in the public availability session and to submit comments on the proposed action either in writing or by participating in the public hearing.

The EPA is proposing an air permit for the facility after evaluating the potential impact of the facility on air quality by comparing it to EPA air quality standards which are established to protect public health. The EPA’s evaluation also included assessing the impact of the facility on nearby low income communities. Based on information available to date, EPA has concluded that operation of the facility will not cause any health standards to be exceeded or any communities to be disproportionately and adversely impacted.

To obtain an the EPA permit, Energy Answers was also required to demonstrate that the pollution controls on the plant are as strict or stricter than any other plant being built in the United States today. The EPA has included these pollution controls, which are considered the best pollution control technology available, as requirements in the proposed permit.

The proposed permit also requires Energy Answers to test the pollution it emits to the atmosphere. Before the facility can begin full operation it must demonstrate it meets the pollution limits the EPA is proposing to establish. The permit requires pollution levels to be measured and reported to the EPA during operation. Failure to meet any of these standards would subject the facility to EPA enforcement actions.

The EPA is asking for public comments on this preliminary decision to approve Energy Answers’ application. The public comment period will extend for forty-five days until June 25. Written comments may be submitted at any time during the comment period. EPA's final permit decision will be made only after full consideration of all public comments received.

The administrative record for the proposed decision, which includes all documents relevant to the EPA’s proposed permit, is available Monday – Friday between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm in the EPA’s Caribbean Environmental Protection Division at City View Plaza III-Suite 7000 in Guaynabo. The documents are also available online through the Interamerican University-Arecibo Campus website at http://www.arecibo.inter.edu/reserva/epa/epa.htm#. In addition, the administrative record is also available for viewing in EPA’s New York offices at 290 Broadway in New York City.

Public comments may be mailed or emailed to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 2
Permitting Section
Air Programs Branch
290 Broadway
New York, New York 10007
Attention: Mr. Steven C. Riva
(212) 637-4074
riva.steven@epa.gov

or:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 2
Caribbean Environmental Protection Division
City View Plaza III-Suite 7000
#48 Rd. 165 km 1.2
Guaynabo, PR 00968-8069
Attention: Mr. Jose Font
(787) 977-5870
font.jose@epa.gov

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