Cuomo Sends NYS Utility Workers To Puerto Rico, Slams Federal Response

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that the state is sending hundreds of utility workers and trucks to Puerto Rico to fix the country’s electrical grid.

The grid is still out from Hurricane Maria. The New York fleet will include 350 utility workers and 220 vehicles, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

As WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported, the governor blasted the federal government’s response to the crisis.

He said that in all of his time in public life — including as governor during Superstorm Sandy and as Housing and Urban Development Secretary in the Clinton Administration, he has never seen the level of bureaucracy that Puerto Rico has had to go through to get federal help after Hurricane Maria.

“Puerto Ricans are Americans, and they should be treated that way,” Cuomo said. “And they’re being treated like second-class citizens right now.”

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, sitting next to Cuomo, said he is tried to keep politics out of the recovery efforts. But Rosselló admitted that he has been frustrated by the response of the Army Corps of Engineers, which he said has done little work on getting power back on.

“Energy is important for our hospitals, it is important for our water and sewers, and it is important for our economy, and apparently, that sense of urgency did not hit the Corps of Engineers,” Rosselló said.

The new aid comes after Rosselló canceled its $300 million contract with Montana-based Whitefish Energy Holdings.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency 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.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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