The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board a Performance Partnership grant of more than $1 million to administer water quality programs.
“EPA has been working hand in hand with Puerto Rico officials in light of the fiscal challenges that the island is confronting,” said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Catherine McCabe.
“EPA has no more basic responsibility than to help partners secure and protect our nation’s water. This grant provides urgently needed help for Puerto Rico to conduct the day-to-day work necessary to run its water programs,” she said.
“These funds granted by the EPA will allow us to continue work in important areas such as water quality monitoring,” said Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board President Tania Vázquez-Rivera.
“In addition, it provides us with assistance in other areas such as certifications and planning. We are working in partnership with federal agencies to fulfill our commitment of protecting the environment,” she said.
The funds will support the EQB’s operation of its continuing environmental programs while giving it greater flexibility to address its highest environmental priorities, improve environmental performance and strengthen its partnership with EPA.
This agreement funds statewide programs to protect and improve water quality. When the water in rivers, lakes, and oceans become polluted, it can endanger wildlife, make drinking water unsafe and threaten the waters in which people swim and fish. EPA supports these efforts under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, the agency said.
Performance Partnership grants are important tools for EPA to provide financial assistance to states and tribes. These grants allow recipients to use EPA awards with greater flexibility for priority environmental problems or program needs, streamline paperwork and accounting procedures to reduce administrative costs, and try cross-program initiatives and approaches that were difficult to fund under traditional grant approaches, the agency said.