Puerto Rico waste-to-energy plan to move ahead

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The US government has approved a key permit that helps pave the way for construction of a waste-to-energy plant in Puerto Rico that environmentalists have long opposed.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it awarded Energy Answers Arecibo an air permit to operate a 77-megawatt facility in the northern town of Arecibo. Other permits are still pending for a facility expected to generate enough power daily to serve more than 76,000 homes.

Opponents who have been staging weekly protests for more than two years say they will appeal the EPA’s decision. Energy Answers Arecibo also is fighting a decision by Puerto Rico’s Justice Department to annul the contract for legal reasons.

The EPA’s announcement comes as Puerto Rico begins to close landfills for lack of space.