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Congress refusing to back down on Whitefish’s canceled Puerto Rico power contract

Congress over the coming weeks will scrutinize the no-bid contract between Puerto Rico and Whitefish Energy, even though it was canceled Sunday, and will push for long-term reforms of the island’s bankrupt power utility.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority canceled the $300 million contract with Whitefish after criticism mounted over the terms of the deal and qualifications of the company.

But Democratic and Republican lawmakers say they will continue to probe the circumstances behind the contract, which was secured by a tiny company based in the same hometown as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

“An investigation to determine how we got into this situation in the first place must continue,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Taxpayers should pay a fair rate for the emergency repairs Puerto Rico desperately needs — not be gouged by Whitefish Energy or anyone else. I am calling on the president and FEMA to ensure this cancellation results in no delay in restoring power to millions of American families in Puerto Rico.”

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