On the role of the DNER regarding Vieques

Edwin Hernandez-Delgado coral_giac at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 2 18:39:15 EST 1999


It has been nearly 8 months since the last bomb was thrown in Vieques 
Island. The official position of the government of Puerto Rico, since then, 
has been to stop bombing and that the U.S. Navy should leave Vieques as soon 
as possible.

Excuse me, but I disagree with you. Why don't you go and talk about the 
scientific method and objectivity to the cancer-diagnosed viequenses?  Many 
rare types of cancer keep showing up in a lot of people there.  This is not 
a random natural phenomenon.

But, following a precautionary principle, the U.S. Navy is the most serious 
environmental threat and the major generator of toxic and carcinogenic 
pollutants in Vieques. Let's stop the major source of threats until all 
studies are finished and conclusions are drawn. Damage is already done and 
we might probably keep looking at the long-term results of that during the 
next decades.

But, many people in the scientific community still have a lot of questions. 
Why does the Marine Resources Division of the P.R. Department of Natural and 
Environmental Resources (DNER) has never done anything to quantitatively 
document damage in those coral reefs? The DNER has plenty of trained 
personnel, as does the University of Puerto Rico.  Also, the DNER has 
received a lot of money through the International Coral Reef Initiative. 
Where's that money going to? To pay the high salaries of a private 
consultant? What is the DNER plan to protect those coral reefs after the 
Navy is gone?  Is the DNER working out a management plan? Not to my 

It's being time to come up with a major effort and do our job.  Many of us 
in the scientific community in Puerto Rico are willing to go there and help 
the DNER to carry out a multi-disciplinary study of the Vieques Island's 
coral reefs.  Can you take that initiative?


Edwin A. Hernandez-Delgado
Investigador Asociado
Universidad de Puerto Rico
Departamento de Biologia
Grupo de Investigacion en Arrecifes de Coral
P.O. Box 23360
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931-3360

Tel. (787) 764-0000, x-4855
Fax  (787) 764-2610

e-mail: coral_giac at hotmail.com
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