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Puerto Rico: What It’s Really Like After the SHTF

Discussion in 'Coffee Shack (Daily News/Economy)' started by Goldhedge, Sep 28, 2017.



  1. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    New Jones Act Legislation Pending, with Puerto Rico Focus

    October 23, 2017 by Editorial

    [​IMG]
    A foreign cargo ship is seen in front of a port after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

    Is Temporary Jones Act Relief Possible for Reconstruction?

    By Eric Lee and J. Michael Cavanaugh (Holland & Knight) – Four bills are currently pending in Congress to repeal or limit the reach of the Jones Act, which requires use of U.S.-flag coastwise endorsed vessels to move cargoes between ports or places in the United States. Three of the bills are focused upon relief efforts to assist Puerto Rico following the disastrous Hurricane Maria.

    The Proposed Legislation

    • H.R. 3966, introduced by Reps. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) and Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) on Oct. 5, 2017, would provide that the Jones Act shall not apply for five years with respect to such carriage to and from Puerto Rico. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as the Committee on Armed Services. The bill’s text has not yet been released but is described in a press release from Palmer’s office.
    • H.R. 3852, titled the Humanitarian Disaster Relief Act of 2017, was introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) on Sept. 28, 2017. This bill would add “humanitarian relief” to the criteria for which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may grant waivers under 46 U.S. Code Section 501(b). This bill has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
    • S. 1894, introduced by Sen. John McCain (for himself and fellow Republican Sens. Mike Lee, James Lankford and Jeff Flake) on Sept. 28, 2017, would generally and permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act. The bill has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.
    • Sen. McCain also previously introduced S. 1561, titled the Open America’s Waters Act of 2017 on July 13, 2017. This bill calls for a general repeal of the Jones Act, similar to several other bills introduced by Sen. McCain going back to 2010. This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
    Prospects for Passage and Other Takeaways

    None of the bills appears likely to advance immediately, but H.R. 3966 and H.R. 3852 could become key elements of broader Puerto Rico reconstruction legislation, if that concept progresses. DHS did recently grant a short-term waiver after Hurricane Maria to allow use of foreign ships to move aid from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico.

    Many of the same forces that have kept U.S. cabotage laws essentially intact for some 225 years continue to be aligned against any permanent waiver, either globally or locally focused on Puerto Rico. There are well-established U.S.-flag liner services operating in the Puerto Rico-mainland trade.

    Potentially, a case can be made for a broader temporary waiver for Puerto Rican reconstruction project cargos, provided that limitations can be included to offer some protection for existing U.S.-flag services. The Palmer/Velázquez bill, H.R. 3966, would create a five-year Jones Act suspension window to aid Puerto Rican reconstruction. The Meng bill, H.R. 3852, would enable DHS to grant a Jones Act waivers on a case-by-case basis for Puerto Rico (and other coastwise destinations) on the basis of “humanitarian relief efforts” – although a U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd) finding of unavailability of U.S.-flag vessels would still appear to be required to support such a waiver.

    In hindsight, was the September DHS Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico lawful? Relevant law at 46 U.S. Code Section 501(b) provides that DHS may issue a waiver at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) if the latter determines the waiver is required for national defense purposes. DHS may issue a waiver on its own, also for national defense purposes, but only if MarAd finds that U.S.-flag vessels are not available. However, in the case of the Puerto Rico waiver, it appears that DHS did not rely on a DOD directive regarding national defense. Several media sources reported that MarAd found adequate U.S.-flag ships were available.

    About the Authors: Eric Lee and J. Michael Cavanaugh are attorney’s at Holland & Knight LLP. This story was originally published by Holland and Knight, LLP and is republished here with permission.

    Editorials do not necessarily reflect the opinion of gCaptain.com.

    http://gcaptain.com/new-jones-act-legislation-pending-puerto-rico-focus/
     
  2. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    TS Empire State VI Returning from Hurricane Relief Mission in Florida and Puerto Rico

    October 23, 2017 by gCaptain

    [​IMG]
    Photo of TS Empire State VI provided by SUNY Maritime College

    The SUNY Maritime College training ship, TS Empire State VI, will return to Ft. Schuyler, New York on Tuesday, October 24, after nearly two months at sea in support of hurricane relief efforts in Florida and Puerto Rico.

    Empire State VI was activated along with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s TS Kennedy and Texas Maritime Academy’s training vessel General Rudder to assist FEMA with the Hurricane Harvey response effort in Texas on September 1. Before Empire State arrived in Texas, however, Hurricane Irma hit Florida and the mission was altered to assist in the Florida recovery efforts instead. After approximately two weeks in Florida, Empire State was sent to San Juan, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

    At both locations, the training ship was used to provide power, housing, food and water to emergency relief workers, making more local hotel rooms available to people displaced by the storms. The Empire State VI also brought 46 pallets of bottled water, food and other items for victims of the hurricane thanks to a state-wide donation campaign led by Governor Cuomo and The State University of New York. Approximately half of the pallets came from the SUNY drive; the rest came from the state-wide campaign led by the governor’s office, the Academy said.

    The supplies were donated to Puerto Rico through United for Puerto Rico, a non-profit organization established in the wake of Hurricane Maria by Puerto Rican First Lady Beatriz Rossello.

    The Empire State VI is used by Maritime College throughout the year as a platform to educate and train future maritime industry professionals. The ship is owned by the Maritime Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation. All three vessels in September- TS Empire State VI, TS Kennedy, and TS General Rudder – are part National Defense Reserve Fleet and can be activated in times of national need, such as during storm response and recovery efforts. Empire State was last activated to respond to Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    “Maritime College is honored and proud to have had the opportunity to assist in these recovery efforts,” said Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, president of SUNY Maritime. “The past two months demonstrate the value of the state maritime academy training ships in times of national need such as these, as well as training America’s future mariners. I am pleased to welcome home Capt. Rick Smith and the crew of the Empire State VI and to thank them for their service.”

    The ship is expected to arrive on campus around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday. In addition to the crew, which includes eight Maritime College alumni, SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson and several others will be board the ship near Staten Island for the trip up the East River.

    “This is a proud moment for Maritime College, SUNY, and all of New York State as we welcome home the crew of the Empire State VI,” said Chancellor Johnson. “Every individual on this ship selflessly put their personal lives on hold for the past two months – in many cases leaving their family and friends – to support the relief efforts and begin to repair the damage caused by multiple hurricanes in the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean. It will be my honor to join them for the final leg of their homecoming sail and to personally thank President Alfultis, Capt. Rick Smith, and the crew of the Empire State VI for a job extraordinarily well done.”

    http://gcaptain.com/ts-empire-state...ne-relief-mission-in-florida-and-puerto-rico/
     
  3. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Diesel for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria
    okrajoe



    Published on Oct 22, 2017
    Hurricane Maria: Diesel for Puerto Rico. HD Video by Airman 1st Class Franklin Harris | 1st Com. Camera Squadron | 10.11.2017 -- Dearybury Oil, who charted Seabulk Tankers, Inc., brings the SEA CHEM-1, an integrated tug and barge, to provide diesel fuel for generators as a part of FEMA’s efforts to restore electricity to Puerto Rico, Oct. 11, 2017, San Juan, Pier 14, Puerto Rico. It will take time to get power restored to many areas, but work is underway between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, local power authorities, and the private sector to get power restored in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (US Air Force video by Airman 1st Class Franklin Harris.)

    More military, space & aviation videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/okrajoe

    Please visit our channel to subscribe.
     
  4. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hometown friend gets $300 million contract to fix Puerto Rico's power grid – even though his company had TWO employees
    • Whitefish Energy signed a $300 million contract to restore power in Puerto Rico
    • The Montana firm had just two employees when Hurricane Maria hit the island
    • It now says it has 280 workers in the U.S. territory
    • The company cited its expertise working in mountainous areas
    • Whitefish is the town where Interior Department Sec. Ryan Zinke was raised
    • Zinke says he knows the CEO, Andy Techmanski, and that one of his sons worked a job at one of his construction sites
    • President Trump has made restoring Puerto Rico's grid a priority


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5014293/Zinke-s-hometown-friend-gets-300m-Puerto-Rico-contract.html#ixzz4wTWfr0RG
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
     
  5. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Lawmakers probe Puerto Rico electric contract as 75% of island remains without power
    RT America



    Published on Oct 25, 2017
    It’s been five weeks since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, and 75 percent of households remain without power. Now, lawmakers are calling for an investigation into a $300 million, no-bid contract to fix the island’s hurricane-ravaged electric grid, which was awarded to a two-person Montana company with direct ties to the Trump administration. RT’s Marina Portnaya brings us the latest details about in the US territory.
     
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  6. Ebie

    Ebie Midas Member Midas Member

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    Who hired the company? The Puerto Rico gov't, or US gov't?

     
  7. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    Occupation:
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    Sigh.....more B.S from NON COMBATANTS WITHOUT REAL JOBS !!!
    ( capitals intended )

    PREPA ...i.e. Rican Power Authority ...
    Ooops....is bankrupt.
    Seeks some assistance b4 storm hits ...
    As in a few days.
    Thinking " ruhhh rohwww...this one is getting close "...
    Understatement of the year....
    BUT...cannot guarantee payment.
    So...I ask you ...
    Who the F in a publically or privately owned contracting company would do that ?
    So these dudes take a flyer...
    Get a 3.7 million deal....NOT 300 million but expandable...
    And proceed to subcontract / broker.
    Whats the big deal ??????
    Yeah....maybe squirrely Brazlian owned etc etc.
    Who knows..
    But blown outta fing proportion already...
    Unless I am wrong...would not be 1st time.
    Ohhh...AND....the initial gig was for a tiny miniscule portion of the totally hosed grid..

    Man o man.....the sharks and zombees are really hungry.
    Dammit man.
    All good. Back later.




    http://mtpr.org/post/whitefish-company-wins-power-restoration-contract-puerto-rico
     
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  8. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    OTOH...
    Surely SOME greasing going on....
    Freaking FEMA and gov is throwing $ around ewhere.
    Im just peeved at all the armchair quarterbacking without more research but I am guilty of that.
    These days....who the hay knows the truth ???
     
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  9. gnome

    gnome Platinum Bling Platinum Bling

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    FWIW, a good friend of mine is a native Puerto Rican engineer who worked for FEMA recovery efforts in Houston (Harvey), FL (Irma) and finally PR (Maria). According to him, the difference is night and day, his conclusion is that someone is sitting on the recovery efforts in PR.
     
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  10. gnome

    gnome Platinum Bling Platinum Bling

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    Distributed solar microgrids with battery backup make a lot of sense in disaster-prone areas.
    Not disaster-proof, but much more resilient than a centralized power grid.
    You will still have failures, just far less likely to have catastrophic failures.

    https://cleantechnica.com/2017/10/25/tesla-sonnen-working-overtime-power-puerto-rico/
    Tesla & Sonnen Working Overtime To Power Up Puerto Rico
    October 25th, 2017 by Steve Hanley

    More than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s aging electric grid, 80% of people on the island are still without power. Most are also without access to clean water. Two of the world leaders in solar power and microgrids — Tesla and sonnen — are making heroic efforts to provide power to hospitals and other critical facilities.

    [​IMG]

    A Bankrupt Utility Company
    A big part of Puerto Rico’s troubles can be traced to the economic woes of PREPA, its publicly owned utility company, which is more than $9 billion in debt. Most of the island’s generating facilities, which use diesel generators, are located in the southern part of the island, while most of the demand is in and around the city of San Juan in the north. That means the island’s grid has to rely on high-tension transmission lines that traverse Puerto Rico’s mountainous interior.

    Puerto Rico Is Ideal For Microgrids
    The island is considered an ideal candidate for a more distributed grid arrangement, with many small solar power plants feeding local microgrids fortified with battery storage to keep the electricity flowing after dark. Rather than the entire island depending on a conventional grid, the microgrids would be self sufficient in the event of an emergency.

    Think of the existing Puerto Rico grid (and most other conventional grids) as a string of old-fashioned Christmas tree lights — when one goes out, they all go out. In a modern, distributed grid, a series of microgrids are connected to each other, but if one goes out, the others keep right on doing what they are designed to do, which is provide electricity to local customers.

    Manuel Laboy, Puerto Rico’s secretary of economic development and commerce, told Bloomberg in a telephone interview this week that the government is considering partnerships with a number of solar energy companies, including Tesla, sonnen, Arensis, and Sunnova to replace the island’s decrepit utility grid with solar powered microgrids. He thinks FEMA funds could be used to pay for the work. Congress on October 24 approved a $34 billion emergency aid package for the island.

    Tesla & Sonnen Act Swiftly
    Tesla and sonnen are not waiting around for negotiations to proceed and contracts to get signed. Tesla has rushed an entire system of solar panels and Powerpack battery storage units to the island to provide local power to the Hospital del Niño in San Juan.

    The company tweeted it is just the “first of many solar+storage projects going live.” Tesla has discussed how it can help with Puerto Rico’s ongoing recovery efforts with Governor Ricardo Rossello in a series of Twitter messages. The governor and Glorimar Ripoli, chief innovation officer for the island, want to make Puerto Rico a model of what Tesla solar power and grid storage systems can do for the world.


    Elon Musk has contributed $250,000 of his own money to relief efforts for the island and moved the reveal of the Tesla Semi back a month so Tesla employees can concentrate on building battery storage units for the island.

    Sonnen, which already has experience building more than 21,000 microgrids of all sizes around the world, is also pushing forward with plans to bring its technology to the beleaguered island.

    “Clean and affordable energy for all is the mission of our company. It is what we believe in and it is what drives us every day,” says Christoph Ostermann, sonnen’s founder. “What is happening in Puerto Rico is a tragedy and as fellow human beings, it is our duty to stand firmly with the people of Puerto Rico and do everything possible to help start the rebuilding process. From my perspective, there is a clear connection between our mission to support humanity during a climate disaster and our mission to fight climate change.”

    Blake Richetta, head of sonnen in the US, says “Our smart energy storage system is uniquely positioned to serve as a critical resource during the emergency in Puerto Rico, as it is a fully integrated system with all the components needed to form a true microgrid without requiring an initial grid connection.” That’s especially relevant as there is no grid left to connect to.

    The Curious Whitefish Connection
    There is a weird story about Puerto Rico and its electrical grid woes making the rounds at this moment. It has just been revealed that PERPA has entered into a $300 million contract to rebuild the existing grid with Whitefish Energy, which is located in the tiny town of Whitefish, Montana. The company has been in business for all of two years and, until very recently, had a total of two employees.

    Essentially, Whitefish Energy will be a broker, hiring private contractors to perform the work. The problem is, PERPA is broke. It says it signed with Whitefish Energy only because it was the only company that agreed to begin working without a multi-million-dollar deposit. Where the money is going to come from is not clear at this moment.

    Do we know anyone else from Whitefish, Montana, population 6,000? Well, yes, in fact we do. Ryan Zinke, the putative president’s Interior Secretary calls the town home and just happens to know the owner of Whitefish Energy.

    Is there a story of corruption, greed, and power here? We don’t know, but lots of people are asking questions about the deal. CNN Money reports that several members of Congress want to know more about the transaction and The Sierra Club is also looking into how a two-person operation in Montana got a $300 million contract in Puerto Rico.

    Will Puerto Rico Move Into The 21st Century?
    The result of all this is that Puerto Rico stands on the threshold of an amazing opportunity to demonstrate to the world how clean, zero-emissions electrical energy could be generated and distributed in the future. Will the promise be realized?

    Oddly, existing laws require funds from the federal government to be used to put things back together exactly as they were before Hurricane Maria cut a path of destruction across the island. Why American taxpayers should be expected to pay for a brand new 19th century grid is a question that apparently none of the solons in Washington, DC, ever gave a moment’s thought to, not that that’s any big surprise.
     
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  11. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    Thats a lot of engineering moving around in a short time.
    What does he do for FEMA ?

    And yeah, the dif IS night and day.
    Contractors / business people want to get paid.
    Theres a big piece of the pie.
    Big problems, need big money.
    And even our fiat digits need to be legislated into existance and then distributed...as in CONgress if federal or Puerto Rican...as in bankrupt.
    And big supplies OTHER than just some MREs and water and diesel fuel....for 3 million, majority seemingly from media pretty much unprepared in hurricane alley souls...another mystery that is...
    They need a LOT of contractors.
    Unless its FedGov backed. As in loose Fed $.
    Who wants to sign up direct for PR ?
    Hah...thats funny....they are bankrupt.
    Nope....not for thousands or heaven forbid millions I wouldn t.
    Even if you do have balls sign, thinking you would get Fed bailed out, you gotta have suppliers on board to get you your stuff for labor to install.
    And THEY-- supply chain -- want their money ...and NOT in 180 days.
    Or they inact lien law stuff on you....which is ANOTHER item not talked about by media.
    Even the FEMA contracts are very , very cumbersome even for the simplest project.
    ( have one on my desk right now )
    Contracts for supply,
    If not already in place. By municipalities,
    As in IDIQ, indefinite demand, indefinite quantity,
    Just are not gonna happen overnight or in a few weeks.
    They gotta be worked out...
    then they have to negotiated, THEN mobilized.
    Thats how the non military stuff is getting there now.
    IDIQ...ands its just not Missouri or Texas.
    As in ...down the road.
    Lotta logistics.
    3500 square miles of it.
    5000 miles of high voltage system alone.
    NOT counting the tagged onto low voltage stuff strewn around all over....gawd whatta mess....
    More than most all folks,
    especially any MS media person or group can wrap their head around.
    Any of this " its Trumps folks fault " stuff is very misdirected.
    But typical pot shotting I would suppose.
    All good.
    Back later.
     
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  12. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    Could be some palm greasing...
    Also OR,
    Could be these guys were some of the only savy spirited types to step up to the plate and wade into a shite storm.
    As in American hero stuff and now up for crucified for it.
    Yeah,
    Only TWO employees...big deal...regular stuff with a host of .gov
    contractors and suppliers.
    Then tbey broker out.
    Heh...lookit FEMA sometime as far as normal staff.
    Without temporary subs...totally a shell for the $ pushed through there. I looked into that after Katrina.
    Yeah, FUBAR....
    NOTE : I think contract is 3 or 4 million...nothing for high voltage work and expandable over years with a 300 ceiling.
    Not uncommon IF you want to actuall get some stuff done.
    As in this is CNN ( Clinton news network ) non informed hype and shock b.s.
    But hey...wtf do I know....could bs a grifter deal and an entire never intended to do anything but steal the $ from the get go scam....lol

    Snip....
    The Curious Whitefish Connection
    There is a weird story about Puerto Rico and its electrical grid woes making the rounds at this moment. It has just been revealed that PERPA has entered into a $300 million contract to rebuild the existing grid with Whitefish Energy, which is located in the tiny town of Whitefish, Montana. The company has been in business for all of two years and, until very recently, had a total of two employees.

    Essentially, Whitefish Energy will be a broker, hiring private contractors to perform the work. The problem is, PERPA is broke. It says it signed with Whitefish Energy only because it was the only company that agreed to begin working without a multi-million-dollar deposit. Where the money is going to come from is not clear at this moment.

    Do we know anyone else from Whitefish, Montana, population 6,000? Well, yes, in fact we do. Ryan Zinke, the putative president’s Interior Secretary calls the town home and just happens to know the owner of Whitefish Energy.

    Is there a story of corruption, greed, and power here? We don’t know, but lots of people are asking questions about the deal. CNN Money reports that several members of Congress want to know more about the transaction and The Sierra Club is also looking into how a two-person operation in Montana got a $300 million contract in Puerto Rico....snip....


     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  13. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Mutual Funds Not Waiting To See How Puerto Rico’s Story Ends
    By Jon Shazar

    Post a Comment / Oct 25, 2017 at 6:15 PM

    [​IMG]
    By U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos Kris Grogan/U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs via Wikimedia Commons

    OppenheimerFunds and Franklin Templeton have been through a lot in Puerto Rico. When the island’s governor said it would default, they stuck around. When it actually did default, they stuck around, all the while losing the kind of money one loses when one owns debt whose debtor says it won’t pay.

    But Oppenheimer and Franklin, they didn’t give up. Not even when Puerto Rico went bankrupt and starting playing hardball. But then it started to rain, and the president started to talk, and even though they can’t get much more than a quarter for the bonds now, they’re getting the hell out.

    The storm, and comments by President Donald Trump hinting at debt forgiveness, upended bondholders’ calculus. Prices of general obligation bonds sold by the Franklin Mutual Series have been cut in half since May and now trade around 30 cents on the dollar, according to data from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board….

    “You can run as many spreadsheets as you want but how do you interpret the politics around it,” Mr. Rosenblum says.

    Bond Funds Dump Puerto Rico [WSJ]

    https://dealbreaker.com/2017/10/mutual-finds-not-waiting-to-see-how-puerto-ricos-story-ends/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2017
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  14. arminius

    arminius Gold Member Gold Chaser Site Supporter ++

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    TPTB would love to depopulate PR and use it as their pirate base. Actually, that's what they have been doing, except for the depopulation. Never let a good crisis go to waste...
     
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  15. gnome

    gnome Platinum Bling Platinum Bling

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    hystck I am inclined to agree, the appearance of cronyism and corruption does not equal corruption, and in many cases I'm willing to assume cockup before conspiracy. There are definitely some legit reasons for recovery to be delayed, including financial problems as well as the extent of the devastation. The fact that interior secretary's son actually worked for the guy that got the contract is pretty fishy, but, hey, that's business as usual in the DC swamp. Hard to top the Clinton's heist of disaster-stricken Haiti.
     
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  16. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    U.S. Navy Ships Complete Hurricane Relief Mission in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

    October 26, 2017 by gCaptain

    [​IMG]
    An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) in the Caribbean Sea in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico, October 3, 2017. U.S. Navy Photo

    The U.S. Navy ships USS Wasp and USS Oak Hill have been pulled from hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following a determination that the ships were no longer needed for the mission, the Navy announced Thursday.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Defense made the decision to redeploy the ships after assessing the need for the continued use of assets assigned to Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes that hit U.S. territories in September.

    The Navy said the decision was part of the broader planning effort to transition from hurricane response to hurricane recovery and was made in consultation with Puerto Rico’s governor.

    “USS Wasp (LHD 1) and USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) are some of the assets no longer needed. They have provided great value to the overall response effort, contributing search and rescue capabilities that saved lives. They are now proceeding on to their next missions in defense of our nation,” the Navy said in a statement released Thursday.

    The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) and the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) were both ordered to get underway to the U.S. Virgin Islands in early September after Hurricane Irma ravaged parts of the Caribbean.

    By the end of September, the Defense Department ordered the USS Wasp to move from providing support to the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica to expand rescue and relief operations in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria’s landfall. The USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), which initially got underway from Norfolk, Virginia in late August in response to Hurricane Harvey, eventually joined the USS Wasp in the relief effort.

    “Their principle contribution to the hurricane relief effort has been helicopter support,” the Navy said. “FEMA and DoD have determined there are sufficient land-based helicopters and tilt rotor lift capabilities in the territories to continue helping the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as they recover.”

    http://gcaptain.com/u-s-navy-ships-...ef-mission-in-puerto-rico-u-s-virgin-islands/
     
  17. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    Yes,
    Seems " fishy" . But only to us.
    Theres the weird part.
    To them its normal stuff.
    Except thats how .gov business and contracting works.
    So many of the .gov companies are brothers , cousins, sons of someone in office. Then there is ex mil here, ex mil there, etc etc etc.
    Never ends.
    Not to mention minority pass throughs and minority special exceptions.
    Which is even broader.
    Its cronyism at every level.
    But so is private business.
    Thats one facet.
    The getting paid part of PR work, there is another.
    You could go out on that limb and get stiffed easy peasy.
    " Poof " bankrupt.
    I can totally see that. Our small company
    already had opp to go down there with more than a few calls but our answer is a resounding " no ".
    We are debt free and want to keep it that way.
    Its a mess down there.
    Both physically AND financially.
    FUBAR.
    JMHO.
    All good.
     
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  18. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    Hey Gnome,
    So I am driving to work this morning and the radio goes off about FEMA saying they did not " approve "
    this contractor in PR and the name of them is Whitefish.
    I started laughing and turned it up. Basically that's all it was saying.
    They said " we have all of these bigger contractors lined up but that one is getting a contract "

    I am thinking the PR Power Authority was in a bind ( no $ )
    beforehand and also did not have SHTF bases covered and they slid these guys
    ( maybe they even promised, wink, wink, each other ) some stuff.
    So now, since it was a direct hit and is toasted, FEMA is in the middle of it and they have some giant
    power authorities on board , NYC and others.
    And so they are in a " tight spot" ...MSM all over it thinking they have some big collusion story.
    Yeah...this will not be the last scramble for fiat $.
    HAH !, Good stuff.
    Regards to all,
     
  19. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    If I was these guys, just give the contract back...lol
    PR and $ and skimming...lol


    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/whitefish-puerto-rico-utility-contract

    ….But as multiple publications have noted, the type of work Whitefish will be doing is usually handled through “mutual aid” agreements with other utilities, rather than by for-profit companies, especially those of Whitefish’s exceptionally small size.

    “The fact that there are so many utilities with experience in this and a huge track record of helping each other out, it is at least odd why [the utility] would go to Whitefish,” Susan F. Tierney, a former senior official at the Energy Department told the Post. “I’m scratching my head wondering how it all adds up.”

    In addition to Techmanski’s relationship with Zinke, Joe Colonnetta, partner at Whitefish and founder of HBC Investments, the private-equity firm that finances the energy company, is a significant power player in Republican politics, according to the Beast.

    Colonetta donated a total of $74,000 towards Trump’s presidential victory and $30,700 to the Republican National Committee, the Beast reported. His wife, Kimberly, separately gave $33,400 to the RNC shortly after Trump’s win, and was photographed with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson during inauguration week, per the report…..
     
  20. hoarder

    hoarder Midas Board Mmbr Platinum Bling

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    Acceptance of government corruption varies according to culture. In Mexico, the citizens (subjects) are much more tolerant of corruption than we are because the majority of them would be just as corrupt if they had the chance. So they see it with envy in their eyes whereas we would see it as despicable.
     
  21. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    FEMA cites ‘significant concerns’ over Whitefish Energy deal in Puerto Rico
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/inve...abb0f1e9ffb_story.html?utm_term=.5a7a482a8ebf

    "Under the contract, Whitefish is charging $330 an hour for a site supervisor and $227.88 an hour for a “journeyman lineman.” The cost for subcontractors, which make up the bulk of Whitefish’s workforce, is $462 per hour for a supervisor and $319.04 for a lineman."
     
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  22. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    Does that rate include room and per diem ?
    Or is that extra DJE on top ?

    Hey Search, we used to own a line division.
    So after the " roll up " they split off...
    Now part of yet another big National Roll Up.
    They were doing a bunch of Irma clean up in Cent and South Florida.
    So today we were talking to them about something at KSC and they allowed as to how EVERY line guy they had....every last one.....so thats 40 or so...
    Had drug up and was headed where ???
    Hah....nothing like some OT and per diem.
    Regards to all,
     
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  23. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Don't know.

    Don't have a bad thing to say about a working man getting any thing he / she can get. Totally pro labor / pro union here. And these guys are doing a hard and dangerous job in less than ideal conditions. Deserve every dollar and then some.

    Me? I'd milk it for all it's worth and then some.

    As to Whitefish and how they got the contract....................lol.
     
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  24. Joe King

    Joe King Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    So you're saying that overall, increasing their minimum wage made Puerto Ricans poorer? I thought raising the minimum wage brought prosperity?
     
  25. latemetal

    latemetal Platinum Bling Platinum Bling

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  26. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    News now saying that the Trump administration is disavowing the contract.
    As in distancing themselves...

    AND, it was just a 3 or 4 million deal to start with I think.
    It is the 300 that eone is focusing on and is getting the attention.
    Heh, not to mention that 300 million is not even a spit in the bucket for what its gonna tally up to
    for all the junk going on down there.
    Let the flaming continue.
    All good, just happy its not me
     
  27. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    ...snip...
    “We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?” Whitefish Energy tweeted to the mayor Wednesday.

    “They are threatening not to do their job which frankly is quite irregular for a company hired to the work for the public sector,” she tweeted in response."

    ...snip...

    This is most excellent.
    Mayor is on the band wagon saying we need to look into it and here is her response to their question.
    Note that the guys are on somebody's nickel until billed and payment is made.
    And considering the hype...hey I would ask the same thing to limit my exposure to risk .
    84 guys and carrying costs is a lot of jack.

    OTOH, pretty cool contract.
    See link Latemetal posted.
    I wish someone would put that language in one of ours.
    BUT...posting just a paragraph or two is not the whole thing.
    Who knows ?
    Some one outta read ALL of PREAs' contracts then and also ALL of the ones
    the Mayors' office is churning out.
    :) :)
    Sounds like a PR thing ?
     
  28. Goldhedge

    Goldhedge Moderator Site Mgr Site Supporter

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    Dianne Feinstein should have gotten her hubby the contract...
     
  29. gringott

    gringott Killed then Resurrected Midas Member Site Supporter

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    Given the amount of retired Americans that go to Central America, Mexico etc for cheaper living and warm climates, I would think that PR would be a great place to develop "retirement villages". It would be great for their economy and employment. Of course the drawbacks are corruption and crime. Perhaps gated communities could be an answer, if they were self-sufficient in energy, water & sewer?
     
  30. gringott

    gringott Killed then Resurrected Midas Member Site Supporter

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    For the Tax Breaks
    If you have any money invested, Puerto Rico will help you make the most of it. The island government’s Act 22, or Individual Investors Act, exempts residents entirely from taxes on dividends, interest and capital gains. For U.S. citizens to qualify for the exemptions, Puerto Rico must be their real home – they must reside in Puerto Rico at least 183 days of the year. The island’s government recently extended the program to Puerto Rican-born people now living in the states, in hopes of luring successful Puerto Ricans back home.

    There’s another tax-related benefit for Americans living in Puerto Rico. Since it is part of the United States, albeit with a unique status, the “double taxation” penalty for American citizens living abroad does not apply to those who live in Puerto Rico. (Under current law, American citizens must file U.S. taxes no matter where in the world they live. Many expats have to file both in the U.S. and in the countries where they live. By agreement with the U.S., most countries deduct U.S. taxes paid from any taxes owed by expats. But many expats, particularly those with higher incomes, still must pay taxes to both countries.)

    For the Easy Adjustment
    Never forget that Puerto Rico is a United States territory. Although Spanish remains the first language, English is widely spoken. You don’t need a residency permit to live there. The U.S. dollar is the currency. The electric plugs are the same. And as a U.S. territory, your Medicare card is as good in Puerto Rico is it is on the U.S. mainland.

    Many familiar brand names are on display there, too, for better or worse. Puerto Rico has more Walmart and Walgreens stores per square mile than anywhere else on Earth. A Google Maps search plots 19 Starbucks cafés in the San Juan area.

    For a Lower Cost of Living
    Puerto Rico’s economy is struggling with nearly $70 billion of debt. A financial rescue bill signed by President Obama on June 29, 2016, has put the island's finances under a federal oversight board and has allowed some debt restructuring. A long, hard recession and inflation have been among its many problems and many professionals have left the island for better-paying jobs elsewhere. Yet Puerto Ricans still enjoy a lower cost of living than mainland Americans.

    The cost of living is more than 11% lower than the aggregate for the U.S., according to 2016 figures compiled by Numbeo.com. (Compare San Juan with a city where you live.)

    A breakdown of everyday costs shows big price differences within those bottom-line numbers. Real estate prices are relatively high, and beachfront property particularly so, but property taxes are comparatively low.

    Grocery prices are high, since most food has to be shipped to the island. But a gym membership in the business district in San Juan costs $45 a month, according to a breakdown on Expatisan.com.

    Best of all, home rental prices are lower even in the best neighborhoods. A furnished, 900-square-foot rental in an expensive neighborhood of San Juan averages $1,674, according to Expatisan. In a “normal” neighborhood, the average price for the same size furnished apartment is $933 (figures from August 2016).

    For the Climate
    Did we mention that Puerto Rico is a tropical paradise? This could have been the top item on the list, but it’s a bit obvious.

    Warm weather is a constant year-round, with little seasonal variation. Temperatures in San Juan and its other coastal areas average in the mid-80s to 90 or so in the daytime, cooling to the mid-50s to about 70 degrees overnight.

    If that’s too hot for you, the island’s hilly center provides a cooler climate, along with a more rural atmosphere. Temperatures can even plunge into the 40s during the mid-winter nights.

    Because It’s Closer Than You Think
    Wherever you are in the U.S., Puerto Rico is quicker and easier to get to than most other places that can compete as retirement destinations. A non-stop flight from Miami to San Juan takes under three hours. The flight from New York is about four hours.

    The Bottom Line
    Puerto Rico has many of the advantages – along with the economic challenges – of its neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean. This most recently includes the Zika virus, which is in many parts of the Caribbean and most recently has spread to sections of Florida.

    All the same, Puerto Rico's unique status as an American territory can make it particularly attractive to Americans looking for an affordable place to retire. It also makes the transition to a new home easy.

    For more retirement planning help, see: Retire in Puerto Rico with $200,000 of Savings, 4 Tips for Retiring in Puerto Rico and Find the Top Retirement Cities in Puerto Rico.
     
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  31. Joe King

    Joe King Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Or just gentrify the whole place? Since it all has to be rebuilt anyways, what about rebuilding it all as high end sh!t that would draw in a more affluent crowd?
     
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  32. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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  33. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Puerto Rico gov seeks to cancel $300M Whitefish contract

    [​IMG]
    Associated Press
    By DANICA COTO, Associated Press
    2 hrs ago


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico's governor on Sunday demanded that the board of the island's power company cancel the $300M contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings amid increased scrutiny of the Montana company's role in Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.

    The announcement by Gov. Ricardo Rossello comes as federal legislators seek to investigate the contract awarded to the small company from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hometown.

    "There cannot be any kind of distraction that alters the commitment to restore electrical power as soon as possible in Puerto Rico," Rossello said, adding that at least $8 million has been paid to Whitefish so far.

    Neither Whitefish nor power company officials immediately returned messages for comment.

    Rossello said he has requested that power crews from New York and Florida come help restore power in Puerto Rico and he criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for not meeting its goals. The agency could not be immediately reached for comment.

    Roughly 70 percent of the island remains without power more than a month after Hurricane Maria struck the U.S. territory on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm with winds of up to 154 mph (245 kph). Power company Director Ricardo Ramos has said that Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority reached a deal with Whitefish just days before the hurricane struck. He also said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had approved of the deal, something the agency has denied.

    FEMA said this week that it has not approved any reimbursement requests from the power company for money to cover repairs to the island's electrical system. The contract said the utility would not pay costs unallowable under FEMA grants, but it also said, "The federal government is not a party to this contract."

    FEMA has raised concerns about how Whitefish got the deal and whether the contracted prices were reasonable. The 2-year-old company had just two full-time employees when the storm hit, but it has since hired more than 300 workers.

    A Whitefish contract obtained by The Associated Press found that the deal included $20,277 an hour for a heavy lift Chinook helicopter, $650 an hour for a large crane truck, $322 an hour for a foreman of a power line crew, $319 an hour for a journeyman lineman and $286 an hour for a mechanic. Each worker also gets a daily allowance of $80 for food, $332 for a hotel room and $1,000 for each flight to or from the mainland.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/pu...fish-contract/ar-AAuc7k1?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=iehp
     
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  34. Ensoniq

    Ensoniq Midas Member Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    Yes, but they've got a special deal

    They pay no federal taxes though (except federal gov and military)
     
  35. latemetal

    latemetal Platinum Bling Platinum Bling

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  36. Someone_else

    Someone_else Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    "Many roads in Puerto Rico remain blocked by fallen trees and other debris. Oct. 26, 2017."
    So get out your chainsaws and use them. Use your pickups and chains to move things. Just fix it, dumbass!
    "...She also needed clean water. "
    You can use fallen trees for firewood, can't you?! Boil the water with your free fuel.
    "Guillaume, 17, waits for aid with his pregnant girlfriend in Helechal Barrio, in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 26, 2017. He said he'd been kicked out of his house by his parents."
    Okay, what is the problem here?
    That's about the extent of the story there.
     
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  37. Hystckndle

    Hystckndle Daguerreotype Fanatic Site Mgr Site Supporter ++

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    " Tough Times "...
    Definition and perspective sure has changed.
     
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  38. Buck

    Buck Fabian Society Gold Chaser

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    Thank God it wasn't just me :green tea:

    I felt my give-a-shit-meter rise every word of that story that I read and all it got me was the same conclusion as you
     
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  39. hammerhead

    hammerhead Not just a screen name Gold Chaser

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    I still don't see what that has to do with President Trump.
     
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  40. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Kearsarge Returns to Norfolk After Two Months of Hurricane Relief Operations off Puerto Rico

    By: Ben Werner
    November 6, 2017 4:22 PM • Updated: November 7, 2017 5:59 AM


    [​IMG]
    The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) arrives at Naval Station Norfolk following relief efforts. US Navy Photo

    After more than two months at sea, providing disaster relief in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, amphibious warship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) returned to homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. on Monday morning.

    Kearsarge and amphibious warship USS Oak Hill (LSD-51), the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Navy Seabees – the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group – initially left Norfolk on Aug. 31, to be in position to provide relief support to the Gulf Coast of Texas following the landfall of Hurricane Harvey, according to a Navy statement. According to news reports, the ARG has now completely moved on from operations near Puerto Rico.

    Ultimately, the services of Kearsarge and Oak Hill, and other Navy ships were needed elsewhere, as other storms battered the south Florida and Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ARG was joined by USS Wasp (LHD-1), which had been scheduled to sail to the Pacific this fall. Also, in October, Marines from the 24th MEU relieved the 26th MEU.

    Both Oak Hill and Wasp departed the region two weeks ago, according to a Navy statement. Oak Hill returned to Norfolk, while Wasp stopped in Mayport, Fla., for some repairs before recalculating the trip to its new homeport in Japan, according to a statement posted on the Wasp Facebook page.

    While in Puerto Rico, sailors and Marines from the Kearsarge ARG cleared main roads to ease the flow of emergency personnel, food, supplies, and fuel. By setting up Roosevelt Roads as a staging base, Marines and sailors helped civilian relief workers arrange for around-the-clock air traffic delivering supplies, evacuating injured, and allowing increased commercial air traffic. Sailors and Marines from Kearsarge also evaluated and restored generators in Puerto Rico, which suffered a near total loss of electricity following Hurricane Maria, according to a Navy statement.

    The following are some of the significant events to occur during Kearsarge’s hurricane relief work:
    • More than 3 million pounds of supplies were delivered to Puerto Rico by the Kearsarge ARG.
    • 2,608 weather observations made since Aug. 31 by Kearsarge’s weather team. These were used for flight and landing operations conducted by Kearsarge, along with other ship responding to provide hurricane relief, and by the citizens of Puerto Rico. The team created 2,555 weather products, such as daily forecasts used by the ships in the ARG, tidal predictions, environmental information, and five-day forecasts.
    • President Donald Trump visits Kearsarge during his visit to Puerto Rico, evaluating the U.S. government response to providing disaster assistance in the wake of Hurricane
    • Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson, commander of United States Northern Command, visited Kearsarge on Oct. 17 while she toured Puerto Rico, evaluating the military’s response to provide disaster assistance following Hurricane Maria.

    https://news.usni.org/2017/11/06/ke...s-hurricane-relief-operations-off-puerto-rico
     

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