By Lindsay Der
The last month has been a rough one for Texans, whose struggle to cope with the winter storm has only been compounded by the power outages.
In mid-February, Texas received unprecedented amounts of snow from “Winter Snow Uri,” which had ravaged the Midwest and the Southern United States from February 13 to February 17. As expected, the need for heating units and energy greatly increased. However, much to the despair of many Texans, the storm also took many energy sources offline, leaving over 5 million people without power. In most cases, a state affected by a natural disaster or something else to cause an energy deficit would be able to borrow energy from neighboring states that share the same power grid. Unfortunately, Texas opted to maintain its own power grid in order to avoid regulations from the federal government. This means Texas can regulate its own power without having to worry about the federal government or other states, but also that Texas is ultimately on its own in this dire time.
Some Republican politicians made statements blaming the lack of power on the nonfunctioning wind turbines, deflecting blame from the larger issue, the offline thermal energy sources. In fact, if Texan policymakers had taken the precaution to weatherize the wind turbines in the case of an event like the storm, the turbines could have continued to run even in extreme weather. A push toward renewable energy, such as wind and solar could help prevent future natural disasters caused by climate change, yet Texas Republicans vehemently oppose the Green New Deal, as Texas is home to many large oil and gas producers. Therefore, these politicians protect the natural gas industry and blame the competition.
Additionally, the storm and power outages have highlighted the wealth inequality in Texas. Severely underprepared for such drastic weather, poor Texans struggled against the freezing temperatures, some resorting to running their vehicles inside to provide some relief, therefore exposing them to carbon monoxide poisoning. Wealthy industry leaders, as the products of their industry go offline and cut off power from millions of Texans, and politicians, as they spread misinformation about said products, simply turn on their backup generators. In some cases, they never had their power turned off in the first place, as the council which regulates the flow of energy continued to provide some affluent areas with electricity. Others simply checked into a hotel or even took a tropical vacay in Cancun, leaving the people they represent to freeze (see Ted Cruz).
As Texas struggles to recover from the death and destruction caused by the powerful storm, here’s what you can do to help: donate to any of the following organizations which provide aid to Texans during their time of need.