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EPA to Hold Five Public Hearing Sessions August 25, 26 and 27 on Air Permit for Arecibo Waste to Energy Facility; Public Encouraged to Pre-Register to Testify

Release Date: 07/19/2012
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664; rodriguez.elias@epa.gov; Brenda Reyes (787) 977-5869; reyes.brenda@epa.gov

(San Juan, P.R.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled a new series of public hearing sessions to accept public comments on its proposed action to approve an air permit to construct a waste to energy facility 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 hold five formal public hearing sessions spread over three days on August 25, 26 and 27, 2012. The sessions will run on Saturday August 25 and Sunday August 26 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm and 6:00pm to 10:00pm. On Monday, August 27, a session will be held from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The hearing sessions will all be held at the Arecibo Lions Club located at Avenida Ing. Manuel T. Gillan, Sector El Tanque, Arecibo.

The EPA will accept written comments or written presentations at the hearing and will allow each person wishing to give oral testimony for up to 10 minutes. Oral testimony and written comments submitted during the public hearing or anytime during the public comment period will be given equal consideration.

For the first four sessions on August 25 and 26, people who register ahead of time will be given preference in filling slots to testify in each session. People who register at the door will be accommodated in that session only if there are slots left in that session. If that session is full, the EPA will give that person a choice of sessions and still have open slots. The final session on August 27 will be preserved to accommodate those who signed up to, but were not able to, testify at previous sessions.

To pre-register for August 25 or 26, contact John Aponte of the EPA Caribbean Environmental Protection Division Office by email at Aponte.john@epa.gov or phone at 787-977-5853.

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.

To obtain the EPA permit, Energy Answers was required to demonstrate that the pollution controls on the plant represented the best available pollution control technology. The proposed permit also requires Energy Answers to test the pollution it emits to the atmosphere and demonstrate that it meets the pollution limits the EPA is proposing to establish. The permit requires emissions limits to be measured and reported to the EPA during operation. Failure to meet any of these permit limits would subject the facility to EPA enforcement actions.

The EPA is extending the public comment period to coincide with the conclusion of the additional hearing sessions. Written comments may be submitted at any time during the comment period, which remains open until August 27, 2012. EPA's final permit decision will be made only after full consideration of all public comments received.

Members of the public wishing to review the administrative record for the proposed decision, which includes all documents relevant to the EPA’s proposed permit, can make an appointment Monday – Friday between 9:00am and 4:30 pm in the EPA’s Caribbean Environmental Protection Division at City View Plaza III-Suite 7000 in Guaynabo. To make an appointment, contact John Aponte by email at Aponte.john@epa.gov or phone at 787-977-5853. 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
Caribbean Environmental Protection Division
City View Plaza III-Suite 7000
#48 Rd. 165 km 1.2
Guaynabo, PR 00968-8069
Attention: Mr. John Aponte
(787) 977-5853
Aponte.john@epa.gov

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