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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pierluisi Announces Major Step Forward for Caño Martín Peña Project

Sep 12, 2015 

Press Release

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers publishes draft feasibility report and envi-
ronmental impact statement

San Juan, Puerto Rico—Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi announced to-
day that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has published the draft feasibility
report and environmental impact statement for the Caño Martín Peña environ-
mental restoration project.  These documents, which are over 2,000 pages and
divided into three volumes, propose a plan for how the project will be imple-

The public now has 45 days in which to submit comments to ENLACE, the
non-federal sponsor for the project, regarding the proposed plan. The public
comment period ends on October 26, 2015.  Once all comments are conside-
red, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, will
be in a position to make a final decision on whether to approve the project and
adopt it a formal part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works pro-

ENLACE will also host two public meetings on Wednesday, October 14th,
about the project.

“Today’s public notice of the draft feasibility report and environmental impact
statement represents a major step forward in the planning process for the Caño
Martín Peña project.  For the past several years, ENLACE and the Grupo de las
Ocho Comunidades Aledañas al Caño Martín Peña—known as the G-8 - have
worked closely with the Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resour-
ces and other stakeholders, to prepare an excellent and thorough plan. The plan
prioritizes the interests of the community and balances environmental considera-
tions,” said Pierluisi.

“I congratulate ENLACE and the G-8 on this progress, and I urge all those inte-
rested in the restoration of Caño Martín Peña to file their comments in support
of the project and the proposed plan by the deadline,” added the Resident Co-

The published plan calls for the Corps of Engineers to dredge approximately
2.2 miles of the eastern half of the Caño to a width of 100 feet and a depth of
10 feet, with slight variations in channel width and depth at the several bridges
that cross the Caño.  The walls of the dredged Caño will be constructed with
concrete and steel.  The project, once constructed, will restore the natural tidal
connection between the San José Lagoon and the San Juan Bay, significantly
improving water quality and habitat in the Caño and the surrounding San Juan
Bay estuary.  Residents in the eight communities along the Caño would be able
to enjoy a healthy waterway, revitalized neighborhoods, and greater economic

“I continue to strongly support this project and will make every effort to secure
its incorporation into the President’s budget request to Congress as soon as the
planning process is completed and Assistant Secretary Darcy approves the pro-
ject,” said Pierluisi.

The Resident Commissioner has been working to build support for the Caño
Martín Peña project in Congress.  In June, Pierluisi led a congressional letter
signed by 15 Representatives and 5 Senators to Assistant Secretary Darcy and
Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, the top civilian and military leaders of
the Corps of Engineers, urging them to expedite completion of the feasibility
review process for the Caño Martín Peña project.

Pierluisi has also personally met several times with Assistant Secretary Dar-
cy to discuss progress in the planning process for the project, and made visits
to ENLACE and the Caño, including a visit in February 2015 with Congress-
man Bill Shuster, the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure, which has jurisdiction over the Corps of Engineers.  Additiona-
lly, Pierluisi has secured language in the committee reports accompanying the
Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations bills for the Corps of Engineers and the EPA,
emphasizing the importance of the Caño Martín Peña project and urging the
two federal agencies to work together on solutions to fund the project.

The draft documents are available in both English and Spanish on the Army
Corps’ website at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/About/DivisionsOffices/

The documents are also available on ENLACE’s website at: http://dragadomar

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