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Governor Rosselló makes possible the reorganization of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico

Governor Rosselló makes possible the reorganization of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico

(August 2, 2018 - La Fortaleza, San Juan) Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló signed the Senate Bill 859 that facilitates and implements the reorganization of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico (DRNA, for its Spanish acronym), in accordance with the New Government Act.

It has been estimated that this consolidation will generate savings of over $5 million for the first year and more than $50 million in the next five years.

This reorganization plan consolidates under the DRNA the functions previously carried out by the Environmental Quality Board (JCA, for its Spanish acronym) and the Solid Waste Management Authority (ADS, for its Spanish acronym). Additionally, the National Parks Program that was assigned to the Recreation and Sports Department (DRD, for its Spanish acronym) is transferred to the DRNA.

“With this law, the consolidation of the four agencies or state offices for environmental protection and our parks is now a reality, to avoid the duplication of functions. Certainly, this will represent short and long-term savings for the Government,” said the governor.

Rosselló also added that “this consolidation will allow us a more efficient and effective oversight management for the benefit of our environment and parks.”

Similarly, the chief executive explained that the integration in a single agency of all matters related to natural resources and the environment is a model that has been implemented successfully in other states.

For her part, the secretary of the DRNA, Tania Vázquez, stressed that “this consolidation forms part of our public policy to make the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources stronger and more efficient for the administration, protection, and conservation of our environment.”

Vázquez also added that “this merger will achieve savings of public funds at a time of great fiscal challenges for the Government and will help us eliminate the duplication of processes, which will also improve services to citizens. The union of regulations will allow us to be more effective in our mission, having greater resources for the implementation of the statutes and regulations.”

The governor had previously signed the Senate Bill 805, which implements the Reorganization Plan of the Bosque Modelo Office, to transfer its functions to the DRNA.

These reorganizations have been carried out under Act 122 of 2017, known as the New Government Act. This statute was approved to efficiently channel the consolidations of agencies in order to have an efficient government with less expenses.

This is one of six reorganizations approved by the Legislative Assembly during the last ordinary session and responds to the Fiscal Plan of the governor of Puerto Rico to achieve a more efficient and less expensive government through the consolidation of agencies.

Currently, the consolidation of the Department of Public Safety (DSP, for its Spanish acronym), with more than $25 million in savings in the first year; and the reorganization of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, for its Spanish acronym) have become law.

It was also explained that the bills for the reorganization plans of the Department of Labor and Human Resources, the Board of Education, and the Public Service Regulatory Board continue before the evaluation of the Executive.

Likewise, the governor insisted that he seeks to transform the Government in order to achieve a government structure consistent with the fiscal reality of Puerto Rico, which responds to real needs, and contributes to a better quality of life.

“In just 18 months we have completed the legislative process related to seven reorganizations that impact over 30 government agencies. In the six reorganizations approved by the Legislature, savings of over $30 million in the first year and close to $250 million in five years have been estimated,” concluded the chief executive.