Granholm Jets Off to Puerto Rico for Sixth Time Since Last Fall

Republicans have questioned the necessity of Granholm's repeated travel to the island

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
November 6, 2023

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm escaped the Washington, D.C., cold front to travel to sunny Puerto Rico last week, her sixth official trip to the island since last fall.

Republican lawmakers have questioned the necessity of Granholm's repeated travel to Puerto Rico, where she has spent over four official work weeks in the past year.

As D.C. temps plummeted to near-freezing last Wednesday, Granholm jetted off to announce new federal green energy funding in San Juan, which was enjoying highs in the upper 80s.

"Excited to be back in Puerto Rico this week to highlight the progress we've made accelerating upgrades to the island's electrical infrastructure, and supporting the Island's goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050," wrote Granholm in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The Department of Energy on Thursday announced that it will spend $440 million for solar panel installation for low-income residents in the U.S. territory.

The junket comes months after Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked Granholm to turn over records related to her extensive travel to the island. Granholm says she is focused on rebuilding Puerto Rico's dilapidated energy grid, which has been ravaged by hurricanes and local government corruption.

"We understand the importance of stabilizing and modernizing Puerto Rico's electric grid but question whether your frequent and extended presence is critical to these activities," House Energy and Commerce Committee chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations chairman Morgan Griffith (R., Va.) wrote in an April 25 letter to Granholm.

Their concerns followed a Washington Free Beacon report about Granholm's week-long trip to Puerto Rico during spring break. The energy secretary visited the island in October and November of 2022, as well as February, March, and August of this year. Each of her last three trips was for a full work week.

The Department of Energy has defended the travel, telling the Free Beacon that Granholm's "highest priority is helping ensure all Americans everywhere gain access to clean, reliable, and affordable power."