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Petitioning President Barack Obama and 2 others

CAÑO MARTIN PEÑA: IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO ALLOCATE $9.1 MILLION IN FY 2016 BUDGET TO GET UNDERWAY A MAJOR ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION PROJECT

Join the fight for Environmental and Social Justice! Urge Congress to improve the quality of life of over 26,000 people and help restore the Martín Peña Channel, located within the only US Tropical Estuary.

The environmental degradation of the Caño Martín Peña (Caño), a 3.75 mile long natural tidal channel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a threat to the health and safety of over 26,000 residents living in adjacent communities. The clogging of the Caño has led to constant flooding of waters filled with fecal matter that contaminates the homes of thousands of children and adults, causing high rates of gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin diseases, dengue fever, and chikungunya.

The Caño, with a historical width of approximately 200 feet, provided tidal exchange between the San Juan Bay and the San José Lagoon. Today, the extreme clogging of the Caño has split in two the San Juan Bay Estuary, one of the 28 recognized estuaries of national significance and the only tropical Estuary recognized in the US by the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, limiting the health and growth of the once lush mangrove forests and its associated biodiversity.

The residents of the Caño communities, most of them living below the poverty line, face unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions, and are exposed to significant environmental health hazards due to the frequent flooding of untreated wastewater contaminated with fecal content 60 times greater than the Environmental Protection Agency’s water-quality standard.  No human being should live in this situation. 

 We urge Congress to act now and allocate $9.1 million on the FY16 budget to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the Pre-construction Engineering and Design (PED) phase of the Caño Martín Peña Restoration.  This project that has been developed in collaboration with community residents through the ENLACE Project over the past decade. 

 The environmental restoration of the Caño Martín Peña-- through its dredging and channelization --will help protect critical infrastructure for Puerto Rico, and will provide new opportunities for economic development, tourism, and ecological restoration in addition to Social Justice.
By reconnecting the Estuary, the ecological impacts will improve the quality of over 6,000 acres of mangrove forests, corals and open water habitat.

SIGN THE PETITION URGING THE UNITED STATES SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDE FOR THIS COST IN THE 2016 FISCAL YEAR FEDERAL BUDGET.

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