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Resistance Grows in Puerto Rico over Dumping of Toxic Coal Ash

HeadlineAug 18, 2017

And in Puerto Rico, resistance to the dumping of toxic coal ash in the southern town of Peñuelas is spreading across the island. In the capital San Juan, activists wearing hazmat suits poured buckets of coal ash on the steps of the Capitol building Thursday morning in protest.

Puerto Rican activist: “The government of Puerto Rico is creating a health problem, an environmental problem and a problem for the future and the coming generations. We want Puerto Rico to close the coal-fired power plant. The only ashes that we want are those of the fiscal control board.”

Then, early this morning, over 100 police officers, including a militarized “strike force,” mobilized to stop residents of Guayama from blockading trucks carrying toxic ash as they left the coal-fired power plant en route to Peñuelas. This is community leader Hector Luis Sanchez de Jesus.

Hector Luis Sanchez de Jesus: “We are impeding, in whatever manner is possible, that these ashes produced here in Guayama depart for Peñuelas. We understand that these ashes are poisonous for the Earth, our Mother Earth, and for the health of all the residents of Puerto Rico. We have a moral commitment, a moral commitment with our friends in Peñuelas to stop these ashes from being transported there.”

Less than an hour later, 200 more police officers mobilized in Peñuelas to stop residents from blockading the trucks as they arrived to dump the coal ash there. At least 25 activists have been arrested blockading the trucks so far this month.

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