PR Chamber of Commerce opposes the project of active legitimation

The union asked the Governor to veto the measure because it interferes with public policy that promotes economic development in a sustainable manner

December 13, 2022, San Juan, P.R. — The Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (PRCC), sent a letter to the Governor of Puerto Rico, Hon. Pedro Pierluisi requesting to veto P. of C. 474, a project that seeks to create the “Law of Environmental Active Legitimation”, which proposes that anyone who under their personal considerations understands there is an environmental violation can go directly to the Court or to an administrative agency to file a legal lawsuit or a complaint.

“We are concerned about this project because the explanatory statement itself indicates that this legislation focuses solely on the government doing its task of conserving the environment, a responsibility that is already previously assigned to the government. Being solely focused on the environmental aspect, it does not take into consideration other principles, rights or values of a constitutional nature which will be lacerated by this project. It is our view that the bill impedes, for example, the constitutional right of citizens to enjoy their property. Acts of citizens in good faith can be confused with what is the environmental public policy they believe they are defending and this would bring other economic repercussions,” said President McKenzie.

He added that “any person could intervene, request reconsideration, appeal or appeal, as a party, in a lawsuit, only demonstrating that it is interested in enforcing environmental public policy and without evidencing specific damage, a disastrous precedent that threatens the commercial stability, competitiveness and economic development of the country.”

“P of C. 474, violates, not only transcendental provisions of the Bill of Rights but judicial independence, the administration of justice and the separation of powers. In addition, it directly affects the creation of economic activity around natural resources. You just have to imagine how many projects, businesses, investments can suffer the consequences of facing some unfounded or imaginative accusation and would have to submit to a judicial or administrative lawsuit to defend themselves, “said the president of the PRCC.

According to the Chamber of Representatives, the proposed project affects the freedom of the Judicial Branch to resolve cases and controversies. Not only does it double the litigation costs of the parties in a lawsuit, but it extends the duration of the lawsuit without just cause. “With the bill, the Legislative Assembly is trying to change the way people present and review their cases before the court and agencies. To achieve this, it proposes to remove the discretion of the Court to decide who is an affected person in a lawsuit and this could be a dangerous precedent, “said the president of the PRCC.

After an exhaustive evaluation, the CCPR summarized several factors to reject the measure and request the veto of the Executive to it. This includes:

  1. the impact that its application would have on the constitutional rights of the parties, including the enjoyment of property, their protection of laws and the enjoyment of human rights;
  2. excessive regulation of access to the courts;
  3. the extension of this power over judicial proceedings;
  4. limits on the power of judges to hear cases, interpret and apply the law;
  5. the effects on the implementation of environmental policy;
  6. the consequences on the required economic policy and the effects on businesses, legal processes, and initiatives that are worked around them, among others.

“We understand that this measure is taxing and unnecessary. In the Chamber of Commerce we advocate promoting the pillars of a free economy under a framework of economic development in the country that is responsible and sustainable. The State is responsible for ensuring order and procedure to prevent the subjectivity of each citizen in his or her very personal criteria from influencing the country’s public policy. For this reason, we present our rejection of P. of C. 474 and ask the Governor of Puerto Rico to veto this project,” concluded the president of the PRCC.

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Contact: Karen Garnik, APR


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