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Whitefish Energy won federal contracts after canceled deal with Puerto Rico

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Montana-based Whitefish Energy Holdings has won multiple government contracts in recent months after the company’s $300 million contract to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical grid was canceled amid controversy.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Whitefish was awarded a $225,000 contract in June from the Interior Department to do electrical work at fish hatcheries in Washington state.

The Energy Department in September additionally gave the company a contract worth more than $1 million to build power transmission lines in Missouri and Arkansas, the AP reported. The company had earned similar contracts from the department in 2016 and 2017, according to the AP.

{mosads}The Energy Department defended the contract to the AP as routine, while the Interior Department insisted that it did its “due diligence” before awarding the job to Whitefish.

The company, which is based in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown, rose in prominence when it received a $300 million contract to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical grid after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Interior denied to the AP that Zinke helped secure the contract.

The contract raised concerns among Democratic lawmakers after they learned the company had only two full-time employees when the storm hit the island.

The Puerto Rican government later canceled the deal following public outcry.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday, the company defended its work in Puerto Rico, asserting that it was confronting a “daunting task.”

“We are grateful that the accurate record of our work in Puerto Rico is coming to light, even as our hearts remain with those on the island who are still struggling,” company spokesman Dan Wilson said.

Tags Ryan Zinke

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