Quantcast
Popular
www.youtube.com

Trump-Linked Company Restoring Puerto Rico's Power Grid Feuds With San Juan Mayor

The company tasked with restoring Puerto Rico's electricity grid has apologized after feuding with the mayor of San Juan and threatening to pull its services.

"Mayor Cruz and everyone in Puerto Rico—on behalf of our employees, we would like to apologize for our comments earlier today, which did not represent who we are and how important this work is to help Puerto Rico's recovery," Whitefish Energy tweeted.


"We have a strong team on the ground, we are working hard and making good progress. Our goal is to continue to do all we can to help everyone in Puerto Rico in this time of need."

Questions have been raised about how the company from Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's Montana hometown landed such a lucrative government bid. Whitefish only employed only two full-time staff members before Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico more than a month ago.

The tweet was sent after Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz demanded more transparency about the tiny energy firm's $300 million contract which bypassed a formal bidding process.

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Whitefish Energy CEO Andy Techmanski has ties to Secretary Zinke. One of Zinke's sons once worked at one of Techmanski's construction sites. The secretary's office and Whitefish deny that the alleged link lead to the contract.

Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee demanded a "full investigation" into the contract. House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) also told reporters he has "questions" about the bid selection process.

"The contract should be voided right away, and a proper process which is clear, transparent, legal, moral and ethical should take place," Cruz told Yahoo News Wednesday.

"It seems like what the Puerto Rican people are going to be paying for, or the American people are going to be paying for, is an intermediary that doesn't know what is at stake here and that really has to subcontract everything. What we need is somebody that can get the job done and that has the expertise to get the job done."

Later on Wednesday, Whitefish replied: "We share the mayor's frustration with the situation on Puerto Rico, but her comments are misplaced. Whitefish has more than 300 workers on the island and that number is growing daily. We are making progress and doing work when others are not even here. We find her comments to be very disappointing and demoralizing to the hundreds of people on our team that have left their homes and families and have come here to help the people of Puerto Rico."

Tensions only ramped up from there. Cruz, who has sparred with President Trump over the administration's hurricane relief efforts, sent off a series of tweets.

"You think I am the only one in the world who has commented on this?" she wrote. "What is it about women having an opinion that irritates some?"

"If @WhitefishEnergy feels that asking for transparency is "misplaced," what are they afraid we will find," she added.

Whitefish then shot back, "We've got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?"

The company's tweet only raised more concerns. "They are threatening not to do their job which frankly is quite irregular for a company hired to the work for the public sector," Cruz wrote.

Whitefish finally issued an apology Wednesday night.

Cruz has not issued a direct response but retweeted several posts, including:

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Health
sveta_zarzamora / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Flexitarian Diet: Your Starter’s Guide and Sample Diet Plan

By Joe Leech

While there are many health benefits to being vegetarian, some of us don't want to completely cut out meat.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Pexels

Humanity Chopping Down Tree of Life, New Research Warns

By Jessica Corbett

Underscoring the urgent need for increased and intensely focused conservation efforts, new research shows that human activity worldwide is wiping out plant and animal life—including our own—so rapidly that evolution can't keep up.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Drought and rising global temperatures could hasten the last call for beer. Pixabay

Climate Change Could Cause Global Beer Shortage

Climate change is coming for our beer. Rising global temperatures and widespread drought could cause yields of barley, a primary ingredient in beer, to decrease as much as 17 percent by the end of the century, according to a study published Monday in Nature Plants.

Decreases in the global supply of barley could ultimately cause "dramatic" regional decreases in beer consumption (-32 percent in Argentina, for instance) and corresponding increases in beer prices (+193 percent in Ireland, for instance), the study says.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
View of the damage caused by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, on Oct. 13. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP / Getty Images

As Scientists Sound Climate Change Alarm, States Lead on Solutions

By Abigail Dillen

This column originally appeared in USA Today.

The world's leading panel of climate experts sounded the alarm this week that we are running out of time to get rising temperatures under control. Its latest report calls for "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented" steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from worsening wildfires and extreme drought to rising sea levels and more powerful storms. It also reminds us what is at stake if we fail to act: our health, our food and water security, our environment and our economy.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Paul Allen pictured in 2014. Courtesy of Vulcan Inc. / Beatrice de Gea

Paul Allen's Environmental Legacy Lives On

The world lost an important environmental icon on Monday with the passing of Paul G. Allen. He died from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Seattle, according to his company Vulcan Inc. He was 65.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates and owned the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, was also a major philanthropist devoted to making the world a better place.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Rangers tranquilized a bear cub to free him from a plastic jar. Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Wildlife & Heritage Service

Rangers Free Bear Cub From Plastic Jar After Three-Day Search

A Maryland bear cub got himself into a sticky situation over the weekend.

The 100-pound male bear earned himself the nickname "Buckethead" when he got his head stuck in a plastic jar in search of a tasty snack, BBC News reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
Arkhip Vereshchagin / TASS / Getty Images

Trump Admin Plans to Use West Coast Military Bases to Ship Coal, Natural Gas

The Trump administration is considering using military bases to export coal and natural gas as a way to override state opposition to building private export terminals, Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke told the AP.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
San Juan National Forest. Scrubhiker (USCdyer) / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Trump Plan to Ramp Up Fracking, Mining in National Forests Threatens Climate

The Trump administration's plan to make it easier for industry to frack and mine in national forests would endanger the climate, wildlife and watersheds, the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups said in comments submitted Monday to the U.S. Forest Service.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!