Power Barges Threaten Dominican Communities and Wildlife Reserve

Floating fossil-fuel-fired power plants – known as power barges – pollute the air, discharge hot water, and produce noise and vibrations that destroy marine life and ecosystems. ELAW partner Euren Cuevas at INSAPROMA filed criminal and civil lawsuits last Wednesday in the Dominican Republic to hold Karpowership Dominican SAS accountable for its polluting operations in the Puerto Viejo Mangrove Wildlife Preserve. 

Euren Cuevas is interviewed by the media after leaving the Attorney General’s Office in Santo Domingo, November 28, 2023

“Authorities claim the power barges are a temporary fix to meet electricity needs, but they have become entrenched and are bypassed in environmental impact assessment processes,” says Euren, who cited oil spills and a massive fish kill over the past six months. He adds: “These disasters threaten our mangroves, corals, seagrass meadows, manatees, the Francisco Alberto Caamaño Deñó National Park, Monte Rio Beach, Playa Blanca, Caracoles Beach, Ocoa Bay, and much more.”

Karpowership (KPS) operates power barges around the world. ELAW attorneys provided Euren with cases from other countries where environmental licenses were suspended after major disasters. They also connected him with partners in Brazil and South Africa who are also challenging KPS, and have since formed a coalition to collaborate on this work.

ELAW’s Science Team is working with Euren to analyze the impact of power barge emissions on local air quality. ELAW Scientist Dr. Rye Howard says: “These power ships are really just rows of huge marine engines mounted on a barge, burning natural gas or fuel oil. It’s an effective way to build a power plant without meeting standard regulations.”

We will keep you informed as Euren and his colleagues around the world work to ensure that power barges do not devastate communities and ecosystems.

For more information, see:

Noticias Sin, November 28, 2023
Se querellan contra funcionarios por presuntamente permitir instalación de barcazas

Bern Johnson
Executive Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide