Walmart and other supermarkets in Puerto Rico were forced to throw out tons of perishable meat and produce after Hurricane Maria when their pleas for emergency fuel were ignored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to congressional investigators.
The retail giant and others reached out to FEMA officials repeatedly after the storm, seeking fuel to keep food refrigerated. They enlisted the help of Gov. Ricard Rosselló and other island officials, as well as members of Congress, to deliver emails, texts and in-person messages to FEMA. In one instance, a Puerto Rico official received an urgent email from Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) on Sept. 22 while the official was sitting in a meeting with FEMA.
“FYI I’m sitting with the FEMA rep right now so we are taking care of this,” the Puerto Rico official wrote minutes after receiving the Gutierrez email.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) released details of the emails in a letter to the committee chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), on Tuesday. In the letter, they repeated a longstanding request for…