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If you have any questions in regards to the above, please do not hesitate to contact our offices so that we may explain the amendments to the provisions of the Code in more detail. Our address is:

 

Fiddler González & Rodríguez, P.S.C., P.O. Box 363507, San Juan, PR 00936-3507. Our fax (787) 759-3108.

 

We welcome your questions and comments.


Juan Carlos Gómez Escarce
(787) 759-3166

jgomez@fgrlaw.com

María L. González Hernández
(787) 759-3173

mlgonzal@fgrlaw.com

 

Eduardo Negrón Navas

(787) 759-3106

enegron@fgrlaw.com

Pedro J. Reyes Bibiloni

(787) 759-3208

preyes@fgrlaw.com

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO PERMITTING PROCESS

On October 2, 2013, Bill No. 1447 was introduced in the House of Representatives and Bill No. 769 was introduced in the Senate, to amend the Puerto Rico permitting process established by the Permit Process Reform Act, Act No. 161-2009. The Permit Process Reform Act substantially modified the permitting process that existed for nearly forty years; among the changes, it consolidated the environmental impact review process with the land use and construction permit processes, and created the Permits Management Office (OGPE for its Spanish acronym), the Permits General Inspector’s Office, the Adjudicative Board, and the Permits and Land Use Review Board.

 

House Bill No. 1447 and Senate Bill No. 769 intend to revert some of the modifications introduced by the Permit Process Reform Act. They propose the elimination of the Permits General Inspector’s Office, the Adjudicative Board, and the Permits and Land Use Review Board. The bills separate the Planning Board from OGPe, which will now be part of the Governor’s Office. They grant additional authority to the OGPe Executive Director, including authority to grant discretionary and ministerial permits, as well as enforcement and audit powers.

 

The bills also provide for separate environmental impact review and land use and construction permit processes; the agency determinations of both procedures will be subject to separate judicial review proceedings. They also reinstate the application of the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, Act 170-1988, to the evaluation and adjudication process of all final permit decisions and enforcement actions of OGPe and Autonomous Municipalities. Final permit decisions would be subject to judicial review by the Court of Appeals.

 

The bills order the creation of a Single Permit for commercial establishments, which would integrate all the certifications and endorsements that are subject to public inspection. OGPe, the Autonomous Municipalities and the governmental agencies that submit recommendations will have to revise their regulations to incorporate the provisions of the House and Senate bills.

 

If you have any questions regarding this matter or would like to know more of our Firm’s experience in this area please call us. If you know anyone that would like to read the FGR Environmental Watch, please feel free to forward this article. Stay tuned for further updates of FGR ENVIRONMENTAL WATCH.

©2014 FIDDLER GONZÁLEZ & RODRÍGUEZ, P.S.C. Permission is granted to view, store, print, copy or distribute the content of this article for noncommercial or personal use, provided you do not alter it and you give us proper credit.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice or advertising. In addition, the above discussion has been provided in general terms and, therefore, should not be relied upon as legal advice applicable to a specific set of facts and circumstances. Before taking legal action, consult a lawyer you trust. Although we will try to be accurate, you cannot rely on its applicability to your specific problem without consulting your lawyer. Fiddler González & Rodríguez, P.S.C. and the members of the Environmental Practice Group assume no responsibility to inform you of additional changes in law or any other legal issues related to matters addressed in this email of which we may become aware after the date hereof.

***IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any United States federal tax advice in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written by Fiddler González & Rodríguez, PSC to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding any penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. ***

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