Puerto Rico: Urban forest cutting permits just got way too easy to get!

In the island of Puerto Rico if a person had to cut down a tree he/she
had to request permission form the island’s Department of Natural
Resources – that was until recently, when the Secretary of the Agency,
Javier Velez Arocho, issued an administrative order that automatically
grants a “fast track” permission to anyone who wishes to cut a tree.

The order, which grants permission to cut up to ten trees, is
automatically granted to anyone who hands in a photograph of the
tree/s in question. Prior to this administrative order, any potential
tree-cutter had to justify the reason for so doing and a technician
from the agency would visit the site to determine that: a) the tree
was not a protected species, and b) the reasons given by the person
requesting the permission were sound. Blogger Ivonne Acosta from Sin
Mordazas was the first to raise the voice of alarm, summarizing the
administrative order in this post: “Look at what this permission from
VĂ©lez Arocho includes: 1) the person who wishes to cut the trees can
obtain the permit the same day;
2) the intention is to speed up the procedure (to cut trees faster);
3) it applies to all municipalities except Ponce and Carolina which
issue permissions locally; 4) the administrative order is of immediate
application and there will be an evaluating technician
the evaluating technician will sign the authorization the same day if
the documents provide sufficient information; 5) this “sufficient
information” does not include the personal examination by the
Department of Natural Resources it is sufficient for the person
requesting the authorization to present two photos of each tree; 6)
the petitioner has to present evidence that he/she owns the land on
which the trees stand (or a permit granted by the municipality if the
land is a property of the town or of the state) ”

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

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