Statement of Solidarity for the Community of Peñuelas, Puerto Rico: Stop the Disposal of Coal Ash and Preserve the Health of the Community

The Movement of Rank and File Educators stand in solidarity with the people’s fight for environmental justice in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico. The Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR), a teachers’ union of Puerto Rico, is decrying the injustice occurring in the Peñuelas community with the unapproved disposal of coal ashes in Peñuelas Valley Landfill. The community has been taking a stand against the dumping through peaceful acts of resistance. So far, sixty three people have been arrested and jailed, including Puerto Rican Senator Maria de Lourdes Santiago.

We stand with the FMPR and affected community who are requesting their governor support and back Bill #340 on the Senate floor, which would prohibit coal ash disposals in their landfills. The coal ash pose dangers to the health and life of the people who reside nearby. The ash, left in mounds, is blown by the wind contaminating the air and water. Deadly and chronic diseases such as cancer have been linked to these disposals.

MORE is the social justice caucus of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City. We believe that our working conditions are inextricably linked to our students’ learning conditions. Clean and healthful communities are a basic human right that must be prioritized over convenience and profit. We stand with FMPR and the Peñuelas community.

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