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ICYMI: Key House Panel Plans Hearing on Puerto Rico Electrical Grid Recovery

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 5, 2018 -

By Colin Wilhelm

Politico Pro

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing this summer on Puerto Rico's fitful recovery from hurricanes Maria and Irma focused on the U.S. territory's troubled electrical grid.

Chairman Rob Bishop called the power grid and Puerto Rico's $70 billion debt crisis "interrelated" — a hearing on the status of the commonwealth's debt recovery had already been planned for July, though no date has been set yet.

"We need to look at what the federal government needs to do to ensure that we will have abundant energy provided for the people of Puerto Rico," Bishop told POLITICO. "And if we don't do that, there's no recovery that's going to take place."

Bishop, whose committee has jurisdiction over Puerto Rico, said he hopes to hold the energy-focused hearing before July 4.

The Utah Republican said concerns over the official death count from Hurricane Maria — which were renewed after the recent publication of a Harvard study estimated thousands more deaths than the government's official estimate of 64 — may also be addressed during the hearing.

The issue has become a political flashpoint, as Democrats criticize the Trump administration's response efforts to Maria. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus will hold a press conference on the issue Wednesday morning.

"It's a possibility," said Bishop. "If you have a problem with the quality of life in any way, and if any deaths were caused by the lack of energy, then rebuilding and redoing the energy [grid] has to be the prime consideration. What I want to do is look at how we can improve the situation down there and not just go off in tangents."

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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