AES Puerto Rico, L.P. v. Trujillo-Panisse, No. 16-2052 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Municipal ordinances banning coal combustion residuals from landfills were preempted by Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board’s approval of the disposal.
AES Puerto Rico, a coal-fired power plant owner, claimed that two municipal (Humacao and Peñuelas) ordinances banning the approved handling of "coal combustion residuals" (CCRs) were preempted by federal and Commonwealth law and violated various provisions of the federal and Puerto Rico constitutions. The Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (EQB) had authorized disposal of coal ash at the El Coquí and Peñuelas Valley landfills within those municipalities. The district court granted summary judgment for the municipalities on AES's federal claims and declined to exercise jurisdiction over the Commonwealth claims. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the local ordinances may not be enforced to the extent they directly conflict with Commonwealth law as promulgated by the EQB.