Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

AES P.R., LP v. Trujillo-Panisse

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20070
Nos. 16-2052, (1st Cir., 05/16/2017)

The First Circuit struck down two Puerto Rican municipalities' ban of the disposal of coal ash at landfills within their borders. In 2015, Puerto Rico's Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved a request from two landfills to receive coal ash from a coal-fired energy plant. Two years prior, the municipalities where the landfills reside adopted ordinances that prohibit the dumping of coal ash at landfills within their borders. One landfill was fined by its municipality for receiving the coal ash, while the other was sent a letter ordering it to cease receipt of coal ash. The power plant brought suit against the municipalities, claiming that Commonwealth law preempted their ordinances. A district court denied this claim, finding that Commonwealth law allowed both the municipalities and EQB to regulate in this area. The appellate court disagreed, holding that under governing statutes EQB's determinations are decisive and are therefore superior. The case was remanded to the district court with orders to enter judgment in favor of the energy plant.