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Articles by Esther Frances, Inside Climate News

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The coastal communities of Guayama and Salinas in southern Puerto Rico feature acres of vibrant green farmland, and a rich, biodiverse estuary, the protected Jobos Bay, which stretches between the neighboring townships. But this would-be tropical paradise is also the home of both a 52-year-old oil-fired power plant and a 22-year-old coal-fired power plant, which local residents say contaminate their drinking water and air, and harm people’s health. 

“It’s a classic sacrifice zone,” said Ruth Santiago, a lawyer and community activist who has fought against environmental injustice in Puerto Rico for more than 20 years. “A friend calls this ‘the beautiful place with serious problems.’”

Local residents envision a cleaner future as these fossil fuel plants are scheduled to retire within the next several years. They see rooftop solar as the best alternative as the island transitions to renewable energy. 

In November 2023, the federal government allocated $440 million in funding for rooftop... Read more