Energy

Congress Won’t Back Off Montana Energy Firm, So It Hired A Lobbyist To Plead Its Case

Reuters

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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A Montana energy firm has hired a lobbyist to plead its case as Congress continues investigating shady circumstances surrounding a terminated $300 million contract the company made with Puerto Rico’s state-owned utility.

Whitefish Energy retained former Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza last week. Cardoza said he would “meet people on the Hill” to discuss Whitefish’s contract and argue that it was made fairly, Politico reports.

Despite the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) canceling the contract Sunday, Congress will continue to investigate the deal and how it was made.

“An investigation to determine how we got into this situation in the first place must continue,” said Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, according to the Washington Examiner.

“Taxpayers should pay a fair rate for the emergency repairs Puerto Rico desperately needs — not be gouged by Whitefish Energy or anyone else,” Cantwell added. “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.”

The Whitefish contract attracted suspicion from federal officials and lawmakers after the company was revealed to be only two years old, with only two full-time employees at the time the contract was signed. The company is also located in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski has personal ties with the secretary.

Both men deny that Zinke had anything to do with PREPA awarding the contract to Whitefish. PREPA maintains that the contract was made according to regulations governing emergency procedures.

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