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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

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

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Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.

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Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.