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Pallone Holds Roundtable with Advocates and Local Leaders after Trip to Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

December 7, 2017
Press Release

New Brunswick, N.J. – Today in Perth Amboy, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) met with local advocates and leaders to discuss his Energy and Commerce Committee Delegation trip to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands over the weekend. He also sought input and suggestions from the advocates on the ongoing post-Hurricane Maria recovery. 

During the trip, Pallone visited numerous locations to examine the relief effort and what can be done to ensure access to energy and address numerous environmental and health concerns. Pallone’s concerns include access to clean drinking water, the restoration of reliable power and the rebuilding of the electric grid, access to healthcare, and ensuring proper use of government funds. As the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Pallone has been a leader in demanding accountability for the relief effort. 

Pictures from the trip can be found here. Video of the roundtable today can be found here.

“During our trip I was truly inspired by the strength and resiliency of the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. They have made tremendous sacrifices in recent months and as American citizens they deserve the full support and attention of our government. I remain disappointed with many aspects of the relief effort in crucial areas such as energy, infrastructure and healthcare. It is clear that the Administration has not acted with the same urgency to aid Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as it has with Texas and Florida. I will continue to hold the Trump administration and Congress accountable as the relief effort moves forward.”

In Puerto Rico, Pallone traveled to the Palo Seco Power Plant, visited the Utuado FEMA aid center, reviewed energy infrastructure in Humacao and spoke with staff and patients at a children’s hospital in San Juan. In the U.S. Virgin Islands Pallone toured damage, visited struggling hospitals and reviewed energy infrastructure. Over the course of the weekend he met with Governors Kenneth Mapp of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico, and met with Congresswomen Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (Puerto Rico) and Stacey Plaskett (U.S. Virgin Islands).

On November 17, Pallone blasted the Trump administration for only requesting $44 billion in supplemental disaster assistance for Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Pallone called the request a “dereliction of duty”. The request was far less than local, state, and territory officials had requested. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello asked for $94.4 billion to rebuild Puerto Rico’s infrastructure.

As the Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Pallone has also worked to hold the Trump administration accountable on key issues such as restoring power and healthcare. Congressman Pallone also worked to expose the troublesome Whitefish, LLC contract, which was given to an unqualified company to assist with the relief effort.