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Two prominent Republican committee chairmen are asking for information from Whitefish Energy and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority about a controversial contract the two parties signed to repair Puerto Rico’s electric grid.
Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is leading a bipartisan group of lawmakers asking for documents and a briefing from Whitefish, a small Montana firm that secured a $300 million contract to rebuild 100 miles of power infrastructure across the island.
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Separately, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, on Thursday requested that Ricardo Ramos, PREPA’s executive director, provide documents to explain how Whitefish landed the contract.
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The requests by Walden and Bishop escalate concerns expressed by Republicans and Democrats about the size of the contract and scale of the job awarded to Whitefish, a company that had two full-time employees the day Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.
“In light of the questions that have been raised about your company’s involvement in recovery efforts, however, it is important to develop a clear understanding of the facts. Therefore, to assist the committee with our ongoing oversight of hurricane response and recovery efforts, we request Whitefish provide a briefing for committee staff,” Walden wrote to the company, asking for a briefing by Nov. 9.
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Joining Walden on that request are Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee; Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Energy Subcommittee ranking member Bobby Rush, D-Ill.; and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee ranking member Diana DeGette, D-Colo.
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