TU CARTA MODELO SOBRE EL GASODUCTO [YOUR MODEL LETTER ABOUT THE GAS PIPELINE]
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
From Joanna aviles:


[Note: Translations from Spanish to English in brackets were added by yours truly. Please forgive me for any mistakes. Also, please note that the Model Letter is in English as originally received. Thank you.]

Familia, lo siguiente es el texto de un correo electrónico que recibí del “Puerto Rico Conservation News, Announcements and Events [ This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ]; on behalf of; Camilla Feibelman [camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org]”.

Les pido que envíen cartas en defensa de nuestro pueblo y nuestra isla de Borikén (aka Puerto Rico) contra el Gasoducto (ya mandé la mía; por favor mande la suya). Pa’lante, mi pueblo! Unidos jamás seremos vencidos! Hahom (Gracias).

[Family, the following is the text of an e-mail I received from “Puerto Rico Conservation News, Announcements and Events [ This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ]; on behalf of; Camilla Feibelman [camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org]”.

I ask that you send cards in defense of our people and our island of Borikén (aka Puerto Rico) against the Gas Pipeline (I already sent mine; please send yours). Go forward, my people! United we will never be defeated! Hahom (Thank you).]

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Amigos:

La administración Fortuño NO ha retirado el proyecto del gasoducto del proceso de permisos a nivel federal ante el Cuerpo de Ingenieros (US Army Corps of Engineers).

Hasta que retiren el proyecto tenemos que ser sumamente pendiente del proceso con el Cuerpo haciendo esta agencia federal entender las faltas e impactos significativos sociales, económicos y ambientales del Gasoducto.

Para facilitar este proceso, hemos desarrollado una carta modelo que pueden utilizar para enviar sus comentarios sobre el Borrador de la Evaluación Ambiental del Gasoducto a nivel federal (ver abajo). Como siempre, sus comentarios tienen más impacto cuando son personalizados, así que siéntanse en la libertad de modificar esta carta a su gusto.

De interesar más información sobre el Borrador de esta Evaluación Ambiental, pueden visitar la página de Internet: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisions/Regulatory/interest.htm y marcar el enlace que indica el gasoducto.

Deben enviar la carta a las dos siguientes direcciones:
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Favor de confirmar el envío de sus comentarios en un mensaje separado a: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it rg (favor de no copiar en el mismo e-mail al Cuerpo de Ingenieros).

Muchísimas gracias por su apoyo!

[English Version]

Friends:

The Fortuño administration has NOT withdrawn the pipeline project of the permitting process at the federal level to the Corps of Engineers (US Army Corps of Engineers).

Until they withdraw the project, we have to be very concerned regarding the process with the Corps to make this federal agency to understand the faults and significant social, economic and environmental impacts of the pipeline.

To facilitate this process, we have developed a model letter that can be used to send your comments on the draft Environmental Assessment of the Gas Pipeline at the federal level (see below). As always, your comments have more impact when they are personalized, so feel free to modify this letter to your liking.

If interested in more information about the draft of this Environmental Assessment, you can visit the Internet page: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/divisions/regulatory/interest.htm and mark the link that indicates the gas pipeline.

You should send the letter to the following two addresses:
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Please confirm the sending of your comments in a separate message to: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it rg (please do not copy in the same e-mail to the Corps of Engineers).

Thank you very much for your support!

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Título del Correo Electrónico (Subject):
[Title of the E-mail (Subject):]

Comments Regarding Draft EA – Puerto Rico Natural Gas Pipeline

Carta Modelo: [Model Letter:]

US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District
P.O. Box 4970
Jacksonville, FL 32232-0019

This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

RE: Permit Application Number SAJ-2010-02881 (Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) of Puerto Rico Natural Gas Pipeline)

This letter is in response to the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) public review and comment process regarding the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the construction and operation of a natural gas pipeline proposed by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), named “Vía Verde” by the current government administration and hereafter referred to as “Gasoducto del Norte”.

PREPA proposes to construct and install a 24-inch diameter steel natural gas pipe line more than 92 miles long with a 150 feet wide construction right-of way (ROW) that will transverse through areas populated by more than 300,000 residents within 48 barrios of 13 municipalities of the island of Puerto Rico, and will impact dozens of imperiled species.

I am writing to request that the Corps: (1) does not issue a permit for the Gasoducto del Norte project due to its significant impacts; (2) proceed with the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to fully analyze the extensive impacts; and (3) allow for public review and comment, including public hearings in Puerto Rico, on the EIS.

The draft EA is based on incomplete information and presents a deficient analysis on the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this project on 235 rivers and wetlands, wildlife and habitats, historic and cultural resources, flood plain values, flood hazards, shore erosion, aesthetic and recreational values, and public safety, as well as on conservation, economic, property ownership, and land use factors. Additionally, the draft EA fails to describe a full and comprehensive mitigation plan for temporary and permanent damages to the environment and particularly, to wetlands.

The draft EA also does not include an in-depth comparative analysis of the impacts of all reasonable alternatives for the delivery of natural gas to the island’s north coast power plants nor reducing the island’s energy costs so the Corps can determine the “least environmentally damaging practicable alternative”. It is not enough to simply compare three possible routes for the same project.

This highly controversial and complex project requires a serious, objective, fair, and balanced evaluation of the project’s significant environmental impacts and alternatives through the development of an EIS. As such, the Corps should prepare an EIS in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This would be consistent with previous Corps behavior, namely, the Corps’ preparation ofan EIS for the establishment of the EcoEléctrica plant in Guayanilla and the Puerto de Las Americas port in Ponce. The Gasoducto del Norte project would be far more damaging, impacting more than 1,672 acres, than the Guayanilla and Ponce projects which were located in highly industrialized areas at already operating commercial ports.

The fact that there is not enough natural gas available to be transferred through this pipeline is another issue that should be fully vetted in the EIS evaluation. PREPA has claimed that the construction of this project will significantly reduce the price of energy on the Island, yet they have failed to support this claim. EcoEléctrica itself has admitted that it neither has the natural gas nor the permits to supply the amounts required to serve the Gasoducto del Norte project. Natural gas availability is directly tied to the purposes and merits of this project. If there is no gas available, the Corps’ evaluation of the Gasoducto del Norte project is premature and should result in a denial because the project cannot achieve its purpose.

In addition, it is an act of environmental and social injustice that the Corps has not facilitated public hearings regarding this project after more than 6,000 Puertorricans requested them during the agency’s last comment period. Moreover, it is unacceptable that such technical and complex document, as the draft EA, is only available in English, when the majority of our citizens predominantly speak and read Spanish as their first language.

Finally, the Gasoducto del Norte project is not in the public interest as it does not meet the Corps’ public interest factors and does not serve the needs and welfare of the people of Puerto Rico. The project’s objectives are highly questionable, as alternative actions to deliver natural gas to the north coast power plants and to reduce the island’s energy costs should be seriously considered.

In benefit of the public interest, we are calling on the US Army Corps of Engineers to deny the Gasoducto’s permit due to its significant impacts, proceed with the development of an EIS available both in English and Spanish, and provide opportunities for public comments and hearings in Puerto Rico.

Cordially,

[Name]
[Municipality]
[Telephone Number]

 
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