stayontheblack.com

World

Whitefish Energy 'very disappointed' with decision to cancel Puerto Rico contract

Whitefish Energy workers repairing power lines in Puerto Rico will soon have their contract scrapped

Workers restore high tension power lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico, on October 28, 2017.

After significant backlash, Puerto Rico is canceling the $300 million contract it signed with Whitefish Energy, the small Montana company tasked with rebuilding Puerto Rico's entire power grid, The NYT reports.

Soon after the deal with Whitefish was announced, questions were raised as to how a two-man company from Montana managed to secure such a lucrative contract.

The FBI is reportedly probing the cancelled contract awarded to the Montana-based Whitefish Energy to fix the USA territory Puerto Rico's electrical grid.

"As a result of the information that has been revealed and the need to protect the public interest, as governor I am asking the power authority to cancel the Whitefish contract immediately", Rosselló said in a Sunday morning news conference at La Fortaleza, the governor's mansion. He said the cancellation will delay pending work by 10 to 12 weeks if no alternatives are found.

As with many problems in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, the groundwork for the Whitefish fiasco was laid before storm, as Blake Sobczak at E&E News showed in a timeline of the contract on Twitter.

So far, Whitefish has been paid almost $11 million and there's another $9.8 million payment pending.

The head of Puerto Rico's power authority on Sunday blamed US media for creating a controversy that led to his cancellation of the $300 million contract awarded to a small Montana company hired to fix Puerto Rico's electrical infrastructure.

Why PREPA chose to forgo mutual aid and wait until six days after the storm to ink a deal with a little-known contractor from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hometown funded by a donor to President Trump remains unclear. Whitefish responded by tweeting a threat to Cruz to pull their workers out of her city.

The White House had no comment Sunday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, multiple congressional committees and local auditors have begun requesting documents about the deal, according to the WSJ.

A Whitefish Energy pickup truck in Manati, Puerto Rico.

Rossello said he has requested that crews from NY and Florida come help restore power in Puerto Rico as he criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for not meeting its goals.

"By executing this contract, PREPA hereby represents and warrants that FEMA has reviewed and approved of this Contract, and confirmed that this Contract is in an acceptable form to qualify for funding from FEMA or other U.S. Governmental agencies", the contract read. He defended his agency and the deal, citing Puerto Rico's emergency needs. Chiames, the Whitefish spokesman, has said that Colonnetta's political donations were "irrelevant" and that the company would cooperate with any federal authorities.