EPA Air Quality Designations for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard—Round 3

On January 9, 2018, EPA published its final rule establishing the initial air quality designations for areas in the United States (U.S.) for the 2010 sulfur dioxide (SO2) primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).  EPA identified and designated as nonattainment tow areas in Puerto Rico, San Juan and Guayama-Salinas.  The rest of the Island was designated as unclassifiable/attainment.  EPA has published a table that compares its intended designations with the state recommended designations.  Furthermore, its designations are published in the Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 6, page 1098 (January 9, 2018).

EPA Reclassifies Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act

On January 25, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a guidance memorandum withdrawing the “once in always in” policy for the classification of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under section 112 of the Clean Air Act.  Sources of hazardous air pollutants previously classified as “major sources” may now be reclassified as “area” sources when the facility limits its potential to emit below major source thresholds.

Light Pollution in Puerto Rico: Proposed Amendments to Regulation 8493 of the Environmental Quality Board

Light pollution in Puerto Rico has increased drastically in the past few decades. As a result, the Legislative Assembly approved Act 105-2014, that amends Act 218-2008, as amended, also known as the "Light Pollution Control and Prevention Act". The amendments included in Act 105 facilitated the adoption process for the regulation to control the light pollution in Puerto Rico. As a consequence, the Environmental Quality Board (hereinafter, “EQB”) approved Regulation No. 8493 of June 27, 2014, also known as the Regulation for Control and Prevention of Light Pollution (hereinafter, “Regulation”). 

Puerto Rico Governor Vetoes House Bill No. 1130

On April 4, 2016, the Legislative Assembly approved HB 1130 and remitted the proposed legislation to Puerto Rico Governor, Alejandro García Padilla, for his signature. However, on May 3, 2016, Gov. García Padilla issued a written statement in which he expressly vetoed HB 1130, listing the following reasons:

Puerto Rico Supreme Court Recently Revisited the Rules of Seniority in Reductions of Workforce

    Recently, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court revisited these guidelines, and in Reyes Sánchez v. Eaton Electrical, 2013 TSPR 108, held that employers must retain employees based on  company-wide seniority (years of service in all job classifications) rather than  seniority within any particular job classification. This means that employees with more seniority in a job classification, but with less company-wide seniority than other employees in the same job classification, must be let go first. 

Tax Minimization: Puerto Rico’s One-Two Punch

    Acknowledging the importance of the service industry in fostering economic growth, in 2012 Puerto Rico enacted a broader tax incentives program for companies that render services to clients located abroad.  The statutory basis of this program was the Export Service Development Act, also known as Act 20.  Concurrently, Puerto Rico approved Act No. 22-2012 (Act 22) affording certain income tax incentives described below for individuals who move to Puerto Rico.  These exemption regimes are now part of the Puerto Rico Tax Incentive Code, commonly known as Act 60, enacted in 2019.