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Severe Winter Storm Kills 23 People, Cuts Power to Millions as Texas Energy System Fails

HeadlineFeb 17, 2021

At least 23 people have been killed and millions remain without power as a major winter storm sweeps across large swaths of the country, bringing record-breaking cold and snow. An overwhelmed and underprepared power grid in Texas plunged millions into freezing cold and darkness. Hundreds of thousands also lost power across parts of Appalachia, as well as in Oregon. This is a resident of Denton, Texas.

Robert Pierce: “We had a fireplace, and I burnt up all the wood we had. … There’s just — this is sad. This is a sad state of affairs. I wish it were better, but, you know, somebody’s got to do some planning after all this is over and make sure there’s an alternative source of energy.”

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott took to Fox News Tuesday to blame renewable energy sources for his state’s blackouts, saying the Green New Deal would be “deadly” for the U.S. His comments contradicted Texas’s own energy department, which said the outages were due to “frozen instruments at natural gas, coal and even nuclear facilities.”

Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “The infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you don’t pursue a Green New Deal.” Texas set up its own power grid, ERCOT, in the 1930s to avoid federal regulation.

Prisoners in Texas, including 1,000 women at the Fort Worth federal medical prison, reported having no heat. In Matamoros, Mexico, which sits on the border with Brownsville, Texas, around 1,000 asylum seekers who were denied entry to the U.S. as part of Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy were forced to face the subfreezing temperatures inside low-grade tents. In North Carolina, a tornado killed at least three people.

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