SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Puerto Rico government agency has been fined $87,000 after U.S. officials said it repeatedly ignored federal regulations aimed at protecting wetlands.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that Puerto Rico's Land Authority damaged some 60 acres (24 hectares) of wetlands and indirectly damaged another 100 acres (40 hectares) when it filled and cleared land along the island's southwest region and released sediment into the area.
The EPA said the agency used excavators and other heavy equipment in 2013 and 2014 to dig up and clear wetlands in the coastal town of Guanica. Officials said the work was not authorized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as required.
The land had been cleared for agricultural purposes.