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NOAA Requests Information on Puerto Rico Coastlines

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published a request for information about Puerto Rico’s coastlines. NOAA will be gathering public comments online until September 30.

What kind of information is NOAA gathering?

NOAA plans to use the information gathered in this project for decision-making on issues like wind energy installations along the coastline and aquaculture opportunities. Decisions on policy and action must include socioeconomic factors as well as scientific data. They hope to collect information on human activities in the area that might be affected. They also want to hear about any concerns people might have about the environmental effects of new industry along the coast.

Other concerns include the possible effects of new industry on existing industry, and any concerns about scientific data that has been or needs to be collected.

Puerto Rico’s government is currently being sued by environmentalists over the proposed locations of solar power stations. Considering Puerto Rico’s precarious financial position and urgent energy needs, this type of lawsuit could have serious negative consequences. NOAA’s goal is to avoid this kind of controversy by gathering information about sensitive issues before making decisions.

Their stated objective is to protect resources while also increasing social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

Connecting with stakeholders

NOAA is also asking for suggestions on ways they can better connect with local communities. In addition to the online request for public responses, they will also be meeting directly with people in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A public meeting will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 31–September 1. The intention is to allow verbal input, and also to get a greater understanding of the concerns of people who will be affected by the project. People who would like to attend the meetings must register in advance.  The registration deadline is Monday, August 21, 2023.

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