WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is seeking answers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about nearly $1 billion it is awarding to contractors for repairing the electrical grid in Puerto Rico.
“Too often, federal disaster funds are wasted or abused instead of going to help communities rebuild,” McCaskill said. “As recovery efforts continue, I’m committed to identifying and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse by conducting aggressive oversight of disaster relief contracts.”
The Army Corps is awarding nearly $1 billion to four contractors to repair and support Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, including recently announced plans to more than triple the amount of its contract with Fluor Corporation—increasing the award from $240 million to $840 million. The Army Corps has also increased a contract with PowerSecure from $40 million to $88 million and has awarded a $19 million contract to Aptim and a $35.1 million contract to Weston. “The federal government has a duty to the 3.4 million U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico to move quickly to restore power along with the duty to all taxpayers to minimize the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse,” McCaskill wrote in a letter to the Commanding General of the Army Corps of Engineers, Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite.
McCaskill is calling for details on what these contractors are responsible for, how they may relate to contracts that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has awarded, and the process for awarding and overseeing the contracts. McCaskill also specifically asks why Fluor’s contract was dramatically increased and for any subcontracts that are part of the Fluor contract.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is responsible for oversight of disaster relief efforts. McCaskill recently called for answers from FEMA, the Army Corps, and Whitefish about the Whitefish contract and other contracts to help repair the Puerto Rico electrical grid. McCaskill also joined Committee Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin to call for an investigation from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General into the Whitefish contract.
Read McCaskill’s letter to the Army Corps of Engineers HERE.