Bureaucratic Challenges to Hurricane Recovery in Puerto Rico

Hearing Date: March 22, 2018 10:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB


  • To examine federal response and recovery efforts to restore access to power and potable drinking water in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane season.
  • To identify areas where the federal government can and must improve to respond more effectively to future major-disaster events, as part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation into 2017 hurricane season preparation and response. 


  • Following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, residents of Puerto Rico found themselves without access to critical emergency communications necessary for safety and survival. Food supplies were limited, clean drinking water was almost entirely inaccessible, and their already crumbling power grid was completely incapacitated. 
  • Six months later, parts of Puerto Rico remain largely without power due to access, topography, and resource issues, as well as challenges with interagency coordination.  
  • Due to the indefinite state of repair, thousands of residents have fled the territory. Estimates project over five percent of Puerto Rico will relocate as a consequence of the hurricane damage. 


Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Michael Byrne Assistant Administrator for Field Operations, Federal Emergency Management Agency U.S. Department of Homeland Security Document
William Parks Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability U.S. Department of Energy Document
Peter Lopez Regional Administrator, Region 2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Document
Scott Aaronson Vice President, Security and Preparedness Edison Electric Institute Document