Puerto Rico to send coal ash to Florida

by | May 5, 2019 | Puerto Rico | Comments

It is a giant pile of toxic coal ash and no one really knows what to do with it. It is a problem that originated with toxic waste generated by Puerto Rico’s power plant and has grown to be a concerning problem that seemed to find a solution when a private company took the coal ash and sold it to the county of Osceola, Florida for $2.00 per ton, with an import that spanned from April to December.

The waste is to be dumped into a landfill in a town that is already suffering reportedly poor air and water quality. In contrast with a measure in Puerto Rico regarding the ban on dumping of toxic waste to protect the health and wellness of the populace, Osceola’s commissioner, who is for the transfer, remarks that Puerto Rico’s problems with illegal dumping are not a problem in a place that knows how to handle landfills and proper disposal of the substances. However, some citizens in Florida are remarking and questioning about why someone would want the substances in their town, when it was not wanted in its place of origin either.

The deal was struck between two private business and with the approval of the local government in Osceola, however some of the local government officials are seeking to reverse the decisions. This leaves the toxic pile of ash generated by the power plant ever growing and stagnant. Many people, including the EPA, claim that this substance is non-toxic, despite it containing harmful substances like mercury and arsenic.

Puerto Rico has had a long running issue with toxic dumping and this is issue highlights the problem with a catch in this waste dumping. Many people in Osceola being transplants from Puerto Rico following the hurricanes, some even escaping a toxic environment in Puerto Rico. In April, Governor Rosselló signed a 100% renewable energy mandate, hoping to make these toxic issues a thing of the past. The County of Osceola however, seems to not find such a measure necessary.