Chair Grijalva Praises President Biden’s Announcement of Additional Funding and Resources for Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Fiona

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today issued the following statement on President Joe Biden’s announcement to deliver $60 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to Puerto Rico to repair levees, strengthen flood walls, and create a new flood warning system. President Biden also announced increased efforts by the Department of Energy and other federal agencies to make Puerto Rico’s energy system cleaner and more reliable.

“The people of Puerto Rico have not only had to live through unspeakable tragedies over the past several years, they have also had to suffer the deliberate negligence and mistreatment of the previous administration. It is a tremendous relief that we now have an administration that understands Puerto Rico deserves to be treated with the same dignity as the rest of the United States.

“I’m grateful to President Biden for showing up and responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona with urgency, funding, and resources, rather than empty words and bizarre photo ops. The additional funding announced today will help the island rebuild in way that makes it more resilient and responsive against the worsening impacts of the climate crisis.

“I’m also pleased to hear the Department of Energy will be ramping up its efforts to help Puerto Rico transform its failing fossil fuel-dependent energy system to one that is cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable. I urge the agency to prioritize those households most vulnerable during natural disasters, including low-income families and homes with people with disabilities. The people of Puerto Rico are facing climate change head-on—they deserve an energy system that can help them weather the storm.”

On Sept. 18, prior to Hurricane Fiona’s landfall in Puerto Rico, President Biden issued an Emergency Declaration for the island, which authorized FEMA to provide emergency assistance. After the hurricane struck Puerto Rico, the president issued a Major Disaster Declaration on Sept. 21 to authorize individual and public assistance and announced a 100% federal cost share on Sept. 22 to fund debris removal and other protective measures.

President Biden noted that power has been restored to 90% of the island and 95% of the island has running water.

In contrast, the previous administration delayed delivery of more than $20 billion in recovery and relief funding after Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico. The botched recovery contributed to the island’s nearly 3,000 deaths caused by Hurricane Maria, making it one of the deadliest hurricanes in America’s history.

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