Millions In Dark And Cold In Texas, So Expect Mandatory Coal-Burning Stoves, And Guns
An “unprecedented" winter storm has dared to mess with Texas, and at least 4.4 million people are without power after record-low temperatures created a demand that the state's electric grid couldn't manage.
There are three power grids in the lower 48 states: the Eastern Interconnection, the Western Interconnection, and Texas. Texas has its own, secessionist grid because it didn't want to deal with the federal government.
By not crossing state lines, Texas utilities avoided being subjected to federal rules. "Freedom from federal regulation was a cherished goal — more so because Texas had no regulation until the 1970s," writes Richard D. Cudahy in a 1995 article, "The Second Battle of the Alamo: The Midnight Connection." (Self-reliance was also made easier in Texas, especially in the early days, because the state has substantial coal, natural gas and oil resources of its own to fuel power plants.)
Texas currently finds its “freedom" cold and drafty, so it's asked the federal government for help. President Joe Biden approved Governor Greg Abbott's requested state of emergency without hesitation because he's not a scuzzy mob boss. He considers himself the leader of the entire country and won't leave states or territories to die because their residents didn't support him in sufficient numbers. Biden hasn't even tried to unload Texas on eBay. His support has been swift and non-judgmental, like a real president.
Over the weekend, President Biden approved the Texas Emergency Declaration and is working closely with state and lo… https://t.co/LyrZ9WkvOL— The White House (@The White House)1613501563.0
Biden didn't just lose Texas during the presidential election. Most of the state's elected officials supported efforts to overturn his victory in unrelated states. Yes, Texas has its own power grid but believes it can dictate how Pennsylvania and Arizona conduct elections. That takes some 10-gallon-hat-sized gall.
However, we should follow Biden's example and show some compassion for Texas. Decent people who aren't Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are suffering. You might recall that the Texas senators enjoyed kicking California when it was down because they're awful people.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on August 18, 2020, and his office asked that residents do their part to conserve energy while California battled 367 known fires. These unreasonable demands included turning off unnecessary lights, avoiding using major appliances, and setting thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.
Cruz snidely tweeted the next day:
California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity. Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA's failed energy policy the standard nationwide. Hope you don't like air conditioning!
Wildfires and intense thunderstorms were ravaging California. It wasn't just another Tuesday. Also, it was August in California. The temperature was in the high 90s. Setting your thermostat to 78 is — wait for it — using air conditioning. Cruz apparently thinks civilization has failed to function if people can't set their ACs to the meat locker setting. But this is typical for Cruz and other conservatives who believed governors asking that people stay at home during a global pandemic is tantamount to a “police state."
Just like Cruz himself, his tweet is both gross and hypocritical. If Democrats meekly suggest gun safety legislation, Republicans claim they are politicizing a crisis. Californians were dying while Cruz was warning us about the threat of a Biden/Harris/AOC ticket. (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was not actually on the ticket with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as she is not yet 35 and there is no "throuple" in the Constitution ... yet.)
California also had massive preemptive power outages in October 2019. The goal was to prevent electrical equipment from starting wildfires. Weather conditions were dry and the winds were strong, so this was science not a “failed energy policy." Regardless, it was a difficult time for Californians, so United States senators should offer support instead of ridicule. John Cornyn went the other way.
Yep, Cornyn shared an unfunny Babylon Bee article with the headline “Texas Luring Jobs Away From California With Promises Of Electricity." LOL, you son of a bitch. Now, Texas is experiencing dayslong blackouts to conserve electricity. What happened to this mighty red state? According to Harris Faulkner at Fox News, it's the fault of all those green energy policies ... in Texas.
FAULKNER: Millions of Americans in the cold and dark say the lack of power is because of green energy policies and the vilification of oil, gas, and coal -- the stuff that really keeps you warm
1. Millions of Americans aren't saying this 2. It isn't true 3. This show fucking sucks "Millions of Americans in… https://t.co/tHvSfWCkdm— Lis Power (@Lis Power)1613492376.0
Bloomberg News confirmed with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas that the non-scheduled blackouts are because of frozen instruments at gas, coal, and nuclear plants, as well as limited supplies of gas. The granola-munching wind and solar energy output is reportedly at or even above capacity.
Oh, and there was also a freaking blizzard in Texas, which lacks the infrastructure to manage a spring day in Minnesota. Like the California wildfires, this is the result of climate change, which burning carbon for fuel only makes worse. Texas could be facing its own version of seasonal wildfires — brutal winter weather that knocks the state on its ass each year. Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe's snowball has come to collect.
Governor Abbott has called ERCOT on the carpet for the power outages and declared ERCOT reform an “emergency item" in the next legislative session. So, we're guessing ... tax cut?
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."