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Support Green Energy for Puerto Rico

Delivery to the Federal Emergency Management Agency

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What’s At Stake

Acceda a este material en español. When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, many of its three million residents were without power for nearly a year. Some 3,000 lives were lost —most of the people who died passed away in the aftermath of the Hurricane, while the electric grid was down.Join us in telling FEMA to ensure that its investments in Puerto Rico's energy grid that will prevent this from happening again.

It didn’t have to be this way — sustainable and resilient options are available. The Alliance for Renewable Energy Now, a grassroots coalition composed of ten groups in Puerto Rico, is proposing to use the $10 billion that FEMA has allocated to Puerto Rico to make the energy system climate-resilient, safer, and more affordable than the current imported fuel-dependent status quo that remains highly vulnerable during hurricanes and earthquakes. 

Despite this, Puerto Rico’s electric utility company, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), and a private consortium called LUMA Energy from the U.S. and Canada are moving forward with a plan that would take the FEMA money and use it to maintain the outdated electricity system, which is based on burning oil, gas, and coal. Yet, LUMA will not invest any of its own money on the project. 

This plan to continue using fossil fuels doesn’t advance Puerto Rico’s 20-year energy plan to prioritize clean energy, nor help with its efforts to meet a requirement to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2050. LUMA and PREPA’s plan would sustain a dilapidated system that prioritizes dirty energy, would not be climate-resilient, and would remain prone to service disruptions. It wouldn’t even save money! Research shows that rooftop solar energy and storage could be installed on houses and buildings throughout Puerto Rico to provide four times more energy than needed at a lower cost than LUMA and PREPA’s plan.  

This is a matter of economic justice and climate justice. Propping up outdated, fossil fuel-dependent transmission line technology that left most of Puerto Rico without power for nearly a year after Hurricane Maria in 2017 is unacceptable. Tell FEMA to make sure its money funds the climate-resilient plan that Puerto Rico needs 

A technician installs a solar energy system at a home in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, in July 2018.

A technician installs a solar energy system at a home in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, in July 2018.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.