Critics blast Abbott over handling of Texas power outages following winter storm


Critics are slamming Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) over his handling of a winter storm that ripped through the state this week, shutting off power and heat to millions for more than three days and counting during a record-setting cold snap.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Abbott blamed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) for not being properly prepared for the storm and pledged reform. 

"The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” Abbott said. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable."

But it was Abbott's comments during a Fox News interview earlier this week that drew the ire of the governor's harshest critics. 

"This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America," Abbott said while appearing on Sean Hannity's program. "It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas as well as other states to make sure that we will be able to heat our homes in the winter time and cool our homes in the summer time."

"So many Texans are in desperate conditions without heat, water, and little relief," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Green New Deal's most vocal advocate in Congress, responded on Twitter. "Gov. Abbott needs to get off TV pointing fingers & start helping people. After that, he needs to read a book on his own state’s energy supply. I’ll be prepping TX relief emails if he needs help." 

Other critics offered similar thoughts on Abbott's posture as it relates to energy infrastructure during the statewide crisis. 

Former Texas Democratic congressman Beto O'Rourke said on Tuesday night that the Lone Star State was bordering on a "failed state" under Abbott's leadership, and knocked the Republican for focusing too intently on cultural issues. 

"The energy capital of North America cannot provide enough energy to warm and power people's homes," O'Rourke said. "We are nearing a failed state in Texas. And it has nothing to do with God or natural disasters. It has everything to do with those in positions of public trust who have failed us." 

With millions of people still without power, and scrambling to get vulnerable residents to warming centers or find running water, Texas utility company Austin Energy said Wednesday some customers can expect to remain without power for up to a week.

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