Environmental Disaster Looms in Puerto Rico, Lashed by Hurricane Maria & Left Without Power

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Environmental Disaster Looms in Puerto Rico, Lashed by Hurricane Maria & Left Without Power

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, bringing record rainfall and catastrophic flooding, destroying power lines and leaving the entire country in the dark. This comes as many homes on Puerto Rico were still dark two weeks after Hurricane Irma cut electricity to hundreds of thousands. The storm also raised concerns about potential environmental disasters. Puerto Rico is home to 23 Superfund sites, including on the island of Vieques, site of a former U.S. naval test range, which took a near-direct hit from the storm. It is also the site of a coal-fired power plant owned by the private company AES. Residents across the island have been demanding the plant be closed and that the company stop dumping toxic coal ash into their community, saying the waste is poisonous to their health and the environment. DN! speaks with Emily Atkin, staff writer covering the environment at the New Republic, who writes, "Puerto Rico is Already an Environmental Tragedy. Hurricane Maria Will Make It Even Worse."