While Republicans Try Once Again to Blame Renewables for Winter Storm Crisis, Near-200 Death Count Is On Republicans’ Hands

AUSTIN, Texas — More revelations have emerged on Republicans’ scramble to cover up their failures during February’s winter storm crisis, as today, the Texas Tribune detailed the Texas Railroad Commission’s full-court press to deflect criticism away from oil and gas in the wake of February’s power outages. When millions of Texans lost power during the freeze, the all-Republican Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees all oil and gas production in Texas, rushed to lay the blame on renewable energy — as did failed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

These claims have been fully debunked. Natural gas and other “thermal” power sources, like nuclear energy and coal, supply more than 80 percent of Texas’ power generation in the winter — and because of Republicans’ decades-long refusal to properly regulate the grid, these power plants were not weatherized to withstand the storm. However, Republicans have continued to spread false narratives about the storm in a desperate attempt to distract from their role in causing the crisis.

Last week, the news broke that nearly 200 people died during the official storm — almost double the previous death count. As State Rep. Rafael Anchia pointed out, “This is almost double the death toll from Hurricane Harvey” — another disaster where Abbott’s failures cost the lives of Texans. As Republicans continue trying to shift the blame, Texans continue to grieve loved ones they lost because Texas Republicans failed to lead and refused to do their jobs.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“It is an outrage that as the death count from the winter storm nears 200, Republicans are still busy trying to pass the buck. Texans died on Governor Abbott’s watch. That’s not because of renewable energy. It’s because Greg Abbott could not be bothered to do his job and put a plan in place to keep Texans safe.

“Right now, Texans are grieving loved ones because of the failures of Texas Republicans. They failed to take the pandemic seriously and take action to keep us safe. They failed to put a plan in place to protect us during the winter storm. Yet instead of taking responsibility and taking action to right these wrongs, Texas Republicans are wasting time attacking our right to vote. Texas deserves better.”