Texas Allure for New Business Could Be History
with GOP as Casualty of Fossil Fuel Grid Collapse

Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside
February 17, 2021

The Texas power system catastrophe is going to cripple the state's business recruitment efforts while putting the GOP here in serious risk of losing control here at the polls in 2022.

Governor Greg Abbott has the most to lose politically from the state's amazing lack of preparedness for the winter storm that's left millions of Texans without electricity for several days and paralyzed the food distribution system.

A Republican who's harbored visions of a presidential race in 2024, Abbott may find his odds for re-election next year plunging to record lows as the leader of the executive branch that oversees the agencies that regulate and manage the power grid that collapsed this week.

Abbott demonstrated his vulnerability when he launched a frantic search for scapegoats on Tuesday - attempting to blame the nonprofit Electric Reliability Council of Texas before pointing the finger at renewable energies as the alleged culprit.

"This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America," Abbott said in a Fox News interview that he used to promote the oil and gas industry and the Republicans' denial on climate change.

"It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas as well as other states to make sure we'll be able to heat our homes in the winter time and cool our homes in the summer time," Abbott told talk show host Sean Hannity.

After touting the Texas perennial ranking as the best state to do business, the governor could find the pitch to be a much tougher sell in a state where countless numbers of residents woke up Tuesday without power, water or a clue when their next meal would be.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and the Republicans who control the Texas Legislature deserve a significant share of the blame after years of ignoring infrastructure needs for the sake of their number one priority of holding taxes down.

Patrick and his GOP allies in the state Senate have wasted a massive amount of time and taxpayer money on issues that were purely symbolic and designed to boost their own support among conservative primary voters.

The bathroom bill was the most notorious example. Patrick and the Republicans claimed that the bathroom bill was needed to protect the safety of women in public restrooms where there'd never been a problem here. The Republicans denied that the measure had been a thinly-veiled attempt at discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

After the House flushed the restroom plan in the 2017 regular session, Abbott revived it amid intense pressure from the hard right with its addition to the call of a summer special session that year. Abbott and the Senate knew all along that the bathroom bill wouldn't pass the House.

The legislative emergency package that Abbott unveiled on February 1 includes similar GOP base theme proposals like police defunding and election security - issues that will take time away from the actual needs of the state.

Abbott contended that wind and solar energy collectively account for more than 10 percent of our power grid" sources. The number actually is closer to 7 percent.

ERCOT has acknowledged that the historic blackouts in Texas were mostly the result of a sudden disruption of natural gas production cause by fossilized piplelines that have been frozen.

The attempt to blame clean energy for the Texas disaster is a blatant red herring. The electricity system meltdown is a product of an overdependence on oil and gas and failure by state government to pay the price for real priorities.

more to come ...





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