Air Force veteran to oversee troubled Puerto Rico power company

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But it was wildly corrupt, entirely inappropriate, and precisely the sort of thing that causes people to mistrust their government. "I want to help out as many people in need that I can, whether that by 1, 10, 100 or more", said Semadeni.

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz responded on Twitter, which then caused Whitefish Energy to say, "We've got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived". For comparison, Puerto Rico has 2,400 miles of critically important transmission lines - and tens of thousands of miles of distribution lines to consumers across the island.

Those supplies are expected to be sent to the island this weekend.

Whitefish then subcontracted Jacksonville Electric Authority and Kissimmee Utility Authority to work with it on transmission system restoration.

Ten percent of the prescription drugs Americans take are manufactured in Puerto Rico, as are dozens of medical devices.

The intricacies of airline policies can be confusing, too, like the distinction between flying a pet in the cargo hold as "checked baggage" (which American Airlines is allowing) versus shipping a pet through American Airlines Cargo (which American Airlines is not permitting because of space restrictions).

The Whitefish contract has also been raising a few eyebrows among Democrats.

Whitefish Energy fired back, threatening to remove its workforce from San Juan.

PREPA's decision to hire Whitefish Energy is unusual, and drawing some scrutiny. And by the pure grace of the Puerto Rican people, the essence that is this beautiful place, the indescribable power that has captured so many, we will thrive. Her husband, Jack, who is in the apparel business, was an Army reservist in the Vietnam era, and his uncle served in World War II, she said.

SIEGEL: The company is based in Whitefish, Mont., logically enough, which is the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

"We share the mayor's frustration with the situation on Puerto Rico, but her comments are misplaced", Whitefish Energy said on Twitter. It disturbed me to find out that even after a month of recovery efforts on the island, people are still dying because they don't have safe water to drink. In the evening, we cooked what remaining food we had in the refrigerator, drank the last of the cold beer, and sat talking with our neighbors until the last of the light disappeared.

"In that moment, we were not in a position to offer that collateral", said Ramos.

Meena Dayak, the association's spokeswoman, tells NPR that the mutual aid program is "basically a matchmaking service" - utilities contract directly with one other to provide services and work out payment. And some did travel to Florida after Hurricane Irma.

He said that the FEMA representatives said they had additional questions about the contract but that they initially believed it complied with FEMA regulations.

As of Wednesday, a month after Maria hit, 75 percent of Puerto Rico was without power.

Vice President Pence, Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long and White House budget director also participated in the meeting.

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