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Puerto Rico to Cancel $300 Million No-Bid Contract to Whitefish Energy

HeadlineOct 30, 2017
 h06 puerto rico power

In Puerto Rico, Governor Ricardo Roselló said Sunday he’s ordered the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to cancel its controversial $300 million contract with the tiny Montana-based company Whitefish Energy. The governor’s move came after enormous pressure and scrutiny over the contract to reconstruct Puerto Rico’s electrical power grid devastated by Hurricane Maria. The company Whitefish is based in the tiny hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and the head of the private equity company that backs Whitefish was a Trump campaign donor. Late last week, a leaked copy of the contract sparked even further outrage, after it surfaced that the terms barred penalties for work delays and prohibited the project from being audited. This is Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, president of Puerto Rico’s public utility union, speaking to Democracy Now!

Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo: “We understand that this decision by the governor is in the face of the major questions that have been raised and the doubts that are circulating as to whether FEMA is going to be able to reimburse the money. And given the possibility that FEMA has distanced itself from reimbursing the money, and given the invoicing of $11 million, the governor is calling for the contract to be canceled. Nonetheless, in this process, he has not called for the resignation of engineer Ricardo Ramos, which is fundamental. He is the one who has defended this contract. He does not talk about continuing to investigate this whole process, and, above all else, does not talk about cooperating in any federal investigation that might be undertaken into the Whitefish contract.”

We conducted that interview on Sunday, after spending the weekend in Puerto Rico, and we’ll have an exclusive report later in the broadcast with an extended interview with the head of the electrical power union.

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