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Bishop: PROMESA's Oversight Board Needs New Tools to Ensure Puerto Rico's Recovery

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 7, 2017 -

Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources examined challenges to Puerto Rico’s recovery and the role of the Financial Oversight and Management Board (Oversight Board) in the immediate and long-term.  The “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act” (PROMESA), signed into law in June 2016, created the Oversight Board to bring fiscal accountability to the territory and a path to economic recovery. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement following the hearing:

"Today’s testimony will inform the work of Congress to ensure the Oversight Board and federal partners have the tools to coordinate an effective and sustained recovery. It is clear that a stronger mechanism will be necessary to align immediate recovery with long-term revitalization and rebuilding. The Oversight Board's mandate in this regard, while more complicated following the hurricanes, has not changed. This Committee will work to ensure it has the tools to effectively execute that mission and build a path forward for the Island and its residents."

During the hearing, Oversight Board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko discussed challenges to the Board’s mandate under PROMESA following the hurricanes. She outlined the potential need for Congress to grant broadened authorities to the Board for it to succeed.

The Board is fully authorized to deal with the fiscal and debt issues that Puerto Rico faced before Hurricane Maria. After the hurricane it is even more critical that the Board be able to operate quickly and decisively,” Jaresko said.

“[T]o avoid uncertainty and lengthy delays in litigation, congressional reaffirmation of our exercise of our authority is welcome,” she added.

Noel Zamot, the Oversight Board’s Revitalization Coordinator and recently appointed Chief Transformation Officer for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, outlined plans to address infrastructure challenges and bring private capital to the Island.

[W]e need dramatic action that creates a fast-moving, depoliticized entity driven by a compelling vision of an efficient, durable, sustainable and affordable power sector for the island,” Zamot stated.

Both Zamot and Jaresko stressed the need to further expedite permitting at every level for any private sector investment to aid recovery and rebuilding. Zamot noted that “economic growth and fast tracking projects is not inconsistent with being good stewards of the environment.”

Click here to view full witness testimony. 

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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