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."
"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?"
@CarmenYulinCruz We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want u… https://t.co/LtoK507XHE— Whitefish Energy (@Whitefish Energy)1508959657.0
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:
You just don't get it. We see you as leaches. Work is "important" for you because it'll make you millionaires while… https://t.co/hCA45EZjF2— Armando Valdés (@Armando Valdés)1508986163.0
When are you gonna erase the two offensive tweets? #SorryNotSorry https://t.co/HLmjMkGGgG— Pedro Julio Serrano (@Pedro Julio Serrano)1508985937.0
People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>