Bad news for Puerto Rico’s Northeastern Nature Preserve

Puerto Rico Preserved Land

The Associated Press reports that last Friday Puerto Rico’s governor canceled the designation of part of the island’s northeastern coastline as a nature reserve, opening the door to large-scale development along a white-sand beach where proposals for hotel resorts have sparked bitter protests. The order signed by the governor, Luis G. Fortuño, directs environmental authorities to evaluate 3,240 acres of public and private land and identify the most ecologically sensitive areas. Those sections would be preserved, while others could be opened to developers. Currently, only small, eco-friendly projects are allowed in the reserve. “There should not be any doubt that a nature reserve will be established here,” the planning board president, Hector Morales, said at a news conference.

Conservation groups have fought to keep hotel projects out of the Northeast Ecological Corridor, which includes a beach fringed with tropical forest used by endangered leatherback sea turtles as a nesting area. Proposals for resorts rallied opposition from celebrities including the actor Benicio del Toro and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer.

Mr. Fortuño’s predecessor, Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, ordered the preservation of the corridor in 2007, and his administration had begun seeking financing to buy private parcels from their owners. But Mr. Fortuño faced pressure from officials, including the mayor of Luquillo, José González Ortiz, to open the region to development that would create jobs.

For the original report go to http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/us/02puerto.html

  Photo: Associated Press: A view of the beach known as “La Selva,” part of the Northeast Ecological Corridor reserve, in Luquillo, Puerto Rico, at http://www.daylife.com/photo/02jSdyu0344BY

One thought on “Bad news for Puerto Rico’s Northeastern Nature Preserve

  1. This is outrageous!!!!! “Trust for Public Land”, a non profit organization in the US, provides funds to preserve ecological areas and donates the land to the government in order to preserve it.
    They wrote a letter to Gov. Luis Fortuño to desist from derogating the law and not to count with his decision. One important quetion to ask; does the
    Tust receive Federal unds?

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