GOP chairman has ‘more questions’ about Puerto Rico’s Whitefish Energy contract


A robust Republican chairman stated Tuesday he has extra questions for Puerto Rican authorities about their controversial hurricane restoration contract with a small Montana vitality agency.

Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopHouse panels investigating 0M Puerto Rico energy grid contract Western voices are ignored in Zinke’s Interior Department Overnight Energy: Senate sends catastrophe aid invoice to Trump | Dems search probe into Puerto Rico utility deal | Interior proposes larger charges for common nationwide parks MORE (R-Utah) stated paperwork offered to his House Natural Resources Committee final week raised recent issues concerning the island’s $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy. Officials rescinded that deal final month amid questions from lawmakers and authorities watchdogs.

“There are some other circumstances within those documents that add more questions, which means at some point I would like those to be answered, and someone needs to look at that,” Bishop stated throughout a listening to on Hurricane Maria restoration efforts Tuesday. He didn’t broaden on what questions the paperwork raised.

Bishop’s committee was as a consequence of hear Tuesday from Ricardo Ramos, the manager director of the state-run Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). But Ramos didn’t attend the listening to, with PREPA saying in a letter that “he is unable to participate in the scheduled hearing due to urgent efforts on the ongoing emergency restoration” to carry energy again to the island.

PREPA entered into the $300 million contract with Whitefish in September. But the scale and scope of the contract drew bipartisan backlash final month, main the territory’s authorities to cancel the deal. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) on Tuesday known as it a “sweetheart deal to a fly-by-night company.”

Tuesday’s listening to gave federal oversight officers the prospect to defend their appointment of an emergency “chief transformation officer” to supervise PREPA.

The oversight board intends for the supervisor, Noel Zamot, to supervise each electrical grid restoration work following Maria and an overhaul of PREPA’s funds. Zamot instructed the committee on Tuesday that he needs to show PREPA right into a utility “that gives steady, dependable and price efficient energy to Puerto Rico and turns into an engine of financial development.”

But PREPA and the Puerto Rican authorities has challenged Zamot’s appointment in court docket, questioning the oversight board’s skill to put in an emergency supervisor.

Natalie Jaresko, the manager director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board, stated federal legislation and “fundamental aspects of bankruptcy law give us the power and responsibility to do what we’ve done.”

But she instructed that, “to avoid uncertainty and lengthy delays in litigation, congressional reaffirmation of our exercise of our authority is welcome.”

Territory officers, together with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, are as a consequence of testify earlier than the Natural Resources Committee subsequent week, Bishop stated.

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