I thank Professors Ralph Sanders, Charles Hall, and Allen Lewis for their cooperation as part of the graduate committee. I am particularly thankful to Dr. Charles Hall for his active participation and guidance, and to Dr. Ralph Sanders for inspiring important concerns that were fundamental in the construction of this study, for his encouragement, and patience.

    I also thank many government agencies in Puerto Rico that provided data and information: Scientific Inventory Division of the Department of Natural Resources, Land Use Planning Division of the Planning Board, the Superfund Division of the Environmental Quality Board, the former Puerto Rico Energy Office. Other local government agencies, offices and private institutions such as Misión Industrial provided valuable information. The EPA Region II office in New York also provided data and information related to Puerto Rico.

    Some friends, my family, and my love for this island provided inspiration through difficult periods. My best friend and "compañera" gave me the most important support. I dedicate this effort to you.

Charo: gracias por encontrarnos, gracias por acompañarme en esto. Salud por que seamos nuestra ruta.

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