The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it will extend enforcement discretion for Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority (PREPA) facilities that have been impacted or damaged by Hurricane Maria through January 31, 2018. Today’s action extends a “no action assurance” issued by EPA on October 6, 2017, and will continue to provide the utility relief from some Clean Air Act permit conditions and permitting requirements, including emission limits, hours of operation limits, fuel usage restrictions, and restrictions on the shutdown or bypass of pollution control equipment for most of their electric generating units operating in Puerto Rico.
"Extending the enforcement discretion for local power facilities is an important step to ensuring power is restored in communities across Puerto Rico," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
Under EPA’s no action assurance letters, the facilities must continue to exercise good air pollution control practices and comply with all other federal, state and local environmental laws. EPA policy allows the Agency to issue no action assurances in cases where it is necessary to avoid extreme risks to public health and safety and where no other mechanism can adequately address the matter. EPA believes that the exercise of enforcement discretion in these circumstances is in the public interest and will help address the emergency circumstances in Puerto Rico.
EPA is working closely with the government of Puerto Rico to assist PREPA with bringing more customers on line as quickly as possible.
EPA continues to coordinate closely with federal, commonwealth, territory, and local partners as the Agency responds to the impact of Hurricane Maria. EPA is focused on environmental impacts and potential threats to human health as well as the safety of those in the affected areas.
SOURCE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency