Copyright (c) 1998 Revista Juridica Universidad de Puerto Rico
Revista Juridica Universidad de Puerto Rico
SUMARIO: GENESIS OF PUERTO RICO'S ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: STUDY OF EARLY PUERTO RICO ENVIRONMENTAL CASE LAW (1900-1940)
67 Rev. Jur. U.P.R. 201
Luis E. Rodriguez-Rivera *
Much has been written about the economic miracle experienced by Puerto Rico during this century, 2 particularly regarding the undeniable and dramatic increase in Puerto Ricans' standard of living. 3 However, little attention has been afforded to the environmental effects associated with the economic development strategies implemented in the Island. 4
Many factors have contributed to Puerto Rico's environmental degradation in the 20th Century. Overpopulation and frequent natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tropical storms, should be considered as significant aggravating factors. Moreover, in 1967, Professor Jaro Mayda's analysis of Puerto Rico's environmental problems led him to conclude that they were linked inextricably to ill-planned economic development. More specifically, Professor Mayda expounded as follows:
The causes of the present resource syndrome in Puerto Rico must be traced twenty-five years back. The island started in the early 1940's on its present path of economic development, from scratch and with a government and planning organization which could do virtually anything within the obvious outer limits.
The planners and decision makers faced what seemed to them a relatively homogeneous one-focal economic problem. They so attacked it and as a result grossly oversimplified it.
There are, in principle, no questions concerning the actual growth of the Puerto Rican gross national product, its favorable material consequences, and the almost inevitable minimum of non-material effects. But the process has been one-sided economically, uncontrolled ecologically and too rapid socially. Any random set of facts and obser vations of the Puerto Rican development ...
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