Officials say they'll try to stop dumping of Puerto Rico coal ash at Osceola County landfill

Osceola County residents are trying to form what they call an action plan against the ongoing dumping of coal ash

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Osceola County Board of County Commissioners said Monday that it will try to stop coal ash from Puerto Rico's power plants from being dumped in a private landfill near the Holopaw neighborhood.

Commissioners approved the deal in April, but some are trying to reverse the decision, saying they are concerned about potentially toxic substances in the ashes.

Representatives from AES Puerto Rico and Waste Connections -- the owner and operator of the JED Landfill -- presented dozens of reports saying the ash contains arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver, but at levels below what the Environmental Protection Agency deems hazardous.

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"This is a private, commercial transaction, so there were other people competing for this," said John Bigalbal, of AES Puerto Rico. "I don't think anybody wanted this to be out in public that AES and JED were about to close a deal."

Dozens of residents scolded commissioners during a Monday afternoon commission meeting.

"Considering how this issue was brought up in the first place, how can we trust you not to do this again?" resident Alex Barrio said.

The county's lawyer told commissioners it was too late for them to back out of the deal and that their only option is to send the company a letter asking them to stop.

Commissioners voted to send the letter.

Watch the news conference below:

WATCH LIVE: Officials discuss Puerto Rican coal ash being dumped in Osceola

WATCH LIVE: Officials are addressing concerns from residents regarding Osceola County allowing the dumping of coal ash from Puerto Rico in a local landfill. READ: at.wftv.com/2LCIfrC

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Monday, May 13, 2019