Puerto Rico governor says island is incorporating climate change innovation into rebuilding process

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told Hill.TV's "Rising" on Wednesday that the island is working to rebuild itself in the years after Hurricane Maria while working to combat climate change. 

"We want Puerto Rico in the future, with this rebuild, to be the island of innovation," Rosselló told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising." "I think we have a great opportunity with climate change." 

"We've made a pledge so that we can rebuild more effectively, and Puerto Rico being one of the jurisdictions that's most affected by climate change, can be the staple and the model for other jurisdictions moving forward," he continued. 

Rosselló cited infrastructure areas that need rebuilding, including Puerto Rico's infrastructure and energy grid. 

"Puerto Rico has an old, broken down energy grid. It's been that case for a while. It's probably the showcase in failure in terms of the energy grid," he said. 

"We can now flip that into an advantage and we've been working on a transformation law, mechanisms to get different stakeholders involved, then go from something that's mostly fossil fuel-run to something that could be a model for renewables, and we could lower costs." 

"Roads in Puerto Rico are critical as we move forward," he said. "Enhancing our labor participation rate, which has been a chronic problem, and now with the rebuild, finding it'll be an opportunity to get more workers involved." 

Rosselló attended President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE's State of the Union address on Tuesday after being invited by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action MORE (D-N.Y.) in an effort "to highlight that Puerto Rico’s hurricane recovery is far from over."

The island is still recovering 18 months after the hurricane and has also had to grapple with a financial crisis. 

— Julia Manchester