The chair of the Texas PUC and other top officials were already worried about gas shortages days before the widespread blackouts that lead to the deaths of at least 151 people, E&E News reports. During the blackouts, many leaders in the state blamed renewables and pushed climate denial talking points. The phone records and documents obtained by E&E show state legislators were already concerned the state’s gas system was not sufficiently weatherized to withstand the winter storm, despite warnings after a similar event a decade earlier. They also show then-PUC chair DeAnn Walker warned Gov. Greg Abbott’s office about failures at gas facilities forcing the shutdown of gas-fired power plants on February 15, the day before Abbott told Fox News the outages showed the dangers of the not-enacted Green New Deal.
Gas plants accounted for the majority of power generation that failed during the freeze, which deprived millions across the state of heating, electricity, and water, with those outages disproportionately harming people of color and people with disabilities. (E&E News; Climate Signals background: February 2021 Polar vortex breakdown and Central US winter storms)