Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You never know

I had a whole post that took a fair amount of time about something not so serious, but important to me (and you'll see it soon, trust me!), but then I got this in my email. And it takes precedence over...oh, just about anything else.

"They tell me it's all happening at the zoo...I do believe you, I do believe it's true..."

Please click on the headline to be taken to the original document (which you will need to be on to follow the links as I do not have them linked here)

EPA Fines Construction Companies in Culebra, Puerto Rico for Ignoring Federal Water Quality Laws

Release date: 04/28/2009

Contact Information: John Senn (212) 637-3667, or Brenda Reyes (787) 977-5869,

(San Juan, P.R.) In a move that shows its strong commitment to enforcing rules that protect water quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) levied fines against eight construction companies in Culebra, P.R. for their failure to follow federal regulations for handling stormwater run off from construction sites. The eight companies are Culebra Resorts Associates; Playa Clara, S. E.; Inversiones del Mercado; JOFA Contractors; Caribbean Properties Investments; VPI Construction Corp.; and Víctor Morales all face fines for failing to obtain proper stormwater permits for construction sites in Culebra. Alfa & Omega was also fined for similar violations related to the installation of a sewer line. The companies face fines totaling $205,500.

“The failure to implement adequate stormwater and sewage controls at these construction sites was harming Culebra’s fragile coastal ecosystems” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “Stormwater runoff carries sediments and other pollutants that endanger sea grasses and coral ecosystems, which in turn can impact threatened and endangered sea turtles.”

The eight companies failed to obtain permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), a program under the federal Clean Water Act that regulates stormwater discharges associated with sewer systems, and industrial and construction activities. NPDES requires owners and operators of construction sites larger than one acre to obtain a permit and to develop and implement a storm water pollution prevention plan, including best management practices to minimize the amount of pollutants reaching waterways.

Breakdown of the fines:
Inversiones del Mercado/Jofa Contractors Corp. $60,050
Caribbean Properties Investment/VPI Construction Corp. $56,050
Culebra Resort Associates $32,500
Víctor Morales $32,500
Playa Clara, S.E. $24,400

Two endangered species of sea turtles, the hawksbill turtle and the leatherback turtle, and one threatened species, the green turtle, inhabit Culebra’s coastal waters. Elkhorn and staghorn coral, both endangered species, are also found in these waters.

Sediment runoff rates from construction sites are typically 10 to 20 times greater than those from agricultural lands, and 1,000 to 2,000 times greater than those of forest lands. Sediment discharges from construction sites can cause physical and biological harm to waterways.

For more information on how stormwater is regulated, visit

Follow us on Twitter and visit our new Facebook page.



Please go to the original document to follow the links! Thank you.


  1. I got this in email and wanted to pass it along... is good to know that people can report violations and concerns at without giving their identity...

    So, if you have something EPA related you want to tell about but are reluctant, there's the way to do so.

  2. MJ and y'all:

    Yes, I'm excited about what the EPA is accomplishing on Culebra, just now. My anguish is that its power for good is totally a factor of who is in the white house. Ask Mary Ann at CORALations. Ask her how many adversarial actions she filed to get the EPA to enforce its own regs during the Bush administration. She was beating her head against the wall. So I'll say, thank you, America, for electing a president who isn't playing an environmental shell game. If you believe as MJ does, that the future of our last best places and our nurturing mother earth deserves respect, continue to support the only administration in years who has the courage to not pervert the meaning of environmental protection. Failure to do so returns us to the mentality that gave us "Clean Skies Initiative" to describe the lowering of emmissions standards.

  3. I think that is what is so frustrating. The laws to protect the environment are in place. Enforcing them is subject to the whim (real whim, not the cat) of who holds the power, federally and/or locally. Even federally doesn't work if locally abuses are allowed. Yes, the fines have come (in my reading, I've learned that developers consider these fines part of the cost of building, so while it's very good, it's a bit of too little too late...look what's already been done...oops, ranting and the sun hasn't even hit my horizon - must make tea - must walk in yard)