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Whitefish Energy workers in Puerto Rico. Photo: Ramon Espinosa / AP

A small company in Montana was given a $300 million contract to help Puerto Rico rebuild its electrical grid after Hurricane Maria, and now details of that project have been revealed, thanks to a leaked copy of the contract (which has since been deleted).

The massive contract to Whitefish, which only had two full-time employees when Maria made landfall, was called "unusual" by The Washington Post — the company's largest project before this was a $1.3 million contract in Arizona. FEMA said it had no role in the contract signing despite the fact that the most recent version of the contract said FEMA had "reviewed and approved" it, per The Hill.

The Daily Beast's Ken Klippenstein tweeted a link to the contract before it was taken down. He highlighted some of the notable details in the agreement:

  • Legal: The contract states, "In no event shall [government bodies] have the right to audit or review the cost and profit elements" and that the Puerto Rican government "waives any claim against Contractor related to delayed completion of work."
  • Financial: Whitefish said it would hire short-term workers to help with the project. The contract suggests each person will receive $332.41 for accommodations each day, as well as $79.82 for food, per person each day.
  • More: Part of the $300 million includes airlift travel, Klippenstein pointed out — $20,277 for Chinook helicopter airlift; $15,993 for S61 helicopter airlift; and $3,969 for a passenger helicopter.
  • FEMA said it "has significant concerns with how PREPA (the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority) procured" the contract and that it is gathering more information about the contract and the contracting process from PREPA and its legal counsel.

Why it matters: The "unusual" Whitefish contract has drawn attention from Congress. Now that a copy has been leaked, some in Congress are urging the House Oversight Committee to investigate the contract, flagging "sweetheart contracts and backroom deals," Klippenstein noted on Twitter.

Go deeper

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."