To: Lauren McGee Rayburn, USDA Rural Utility Service

USDA: Don’t waste taxpayer money on a waste incinerator in Puerto Rico

USDA Rural Utility Service’s proposal to fund Energy Answers’ waste incinerator in Arecibo, Puerto Rico is a waste of taxpayer money and makes no sense from either an economic or environmental perspective.

According to the Energy Information Administration, waste incineration is the most costly form of energy production per unit of energy or power. The Arecibo project will deepen the financial crisis currently experienced by Puerto Rico’s municipalities by forcing them to pay higher tipping fees and discouraging recycling and other more economic waste management methods.

The proposed incinerator will also lock Puerto Rico—a place where wind and solar could generate more than 100 percent of electricity needs—into electricity from one of the most polluting methods of energy production per unit of energy. The proposed incinerator will emit lead in an area already in violation of the Clean Air Act’s air quality standards for lead. The incinerator also will be a major source of all other criteria air pollutants. And the project will generate thousands of tons of potentially toxic incinerator ash each year.

Energy Answers is now asking RUS to step in and make this terrible idea a reality. Don’t waste my taxpayer dollars on this unwise investment!

Why is this important?

DEADLINE: November 12!

The United States has moved away from waste incinerators as an energy source because the miniscule amounts of energy produced comes at a high price that pollutes communities and bankrupts local governments. But now the New York company Energy Answers is trying to build one of the first new waste incinerators in the country in over two decades in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, an area already overburdened by polluting industrial facilities.

Opposition to this project is strong in Puerto Rico: coalitions representing every local government on the island have spoken out against the project as a burden on their already troubled municipal finances, and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources has denied a permit to the company in order to preserve the ecosystem of a nearby Natural Reserve.

Unable to find private financing, Energy Answers is now asking USDA to use taxpayer money in a last-ditch attempt to fund this boondoggle of a project. The project will lock Puerto Rico into the most polluting method of energy production for decades and severely compromise the island’s recycling goals.

Don’t let USDA fund a project that will pollute Puerto Rico and bankrupt its municipalities. Tell USDA not to waste your taxpayer money to build a dirty, uneconomical waste incinerator in Arecibo.