“The United States can land successfully on Mars, but it can’t supply water to Texas disaster victims in the cold wave!” This complaint by a doctor and couple in Texas to the media vividly expressed the sufferings of the American people under the recent winter storm.
Power and water cut, lack of supplies, bitter cold… The majority of Texas people in the United States have been suffering in such a bad situation for a week. Although the storm is receding and federal government assistance is on the way, the American chaos reflected behind the disaster is far from disappearing.
Natural disasters have hit the infrastructure weakness of the “energy state”
Texas, located in the southern part of the United States, is usually warm in winter and rarely encounters extreme cold weather. Moreover, this famous “energy state” is home to a large amount of oil and gas, which should be the most unlikely place in the United States to have a large-scale power outage. However, this winter storm paralyzed Texas’s power system.
Experts analyzed that extreme weather is not the only culprit, and the inherent defects and age of critical infrastructure and the insufficient local government’s plans for extreme weather are also to blame.
△ On the 21st local time, Texas workers rushed to repair the local water pipe.
Several U.S. media reported that as early as 2011, Texas had suffered a similar cold wave and a large-scale power outage, causing millions of people to suffer. At that time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electricity Reliability Company issued reports recommending that Texas take precautions to protect energy infrastructure from extreme weather damage.
However, this suggestion has not been adopted. Kyrie King, a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, pointed out that the same tragedy happened again this year, indicating that the Texas government had not learned the lessons of a decade ago at all.
Kyrie King: “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission previously issued a report saying that multiple measures should be taken to protect power plants under all-weather conditions, but in the end, it seems that these measures have not been implemented.”
The Washington Post reported that the unregulated energy market caused the “Texan crisis”. In the name of deregulation and free market, Texas has established a power grid that emphasizes cheap rather than reliable services. More importantly, the Texas grid operates independently of the states of the United States, which means that when the local grid is insufficiently powered due to overloaded operation, it cannot obtain power support from other states and can only be shut down.
Texas Democratic Rep. Sylvia Garcia has also questioned this, holding the Texas government and the Texas Electricity Reliability Board (ERCOT) responsible for grid operation accountable.
Sylvia Garcia: “I think it all should be put on the table. Texasans don’t want to go through this again. They want to be held accountable and want to know why the system has failed, and, frankly, almost collapsed.”
Man-made disasters aggravate the suffering of the people and political tear up.
At a time when there is an urgent need to take measures to mend the fence after the sheep are lost, all levels of government in Texas are eager to blame each other.
In the early days of the power outage, Texas Governor Abbott accused private power companies of failing to fully restore power supply and criticized ERCOT for failing to ensure the normal operation of power generation equipment in the cold. Magnes, CEO of ERCOT, argued that they were only responsible for the management and operation of the grid, and it was not their responsibility to upgrade the anti-freeze of power facilities.
The inaction and accountability of the Texas government have been widely criticized from local governments in the state to the general public. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that the lack of leadership from state officials is the root cause of the widespread power outages in the state due to the cold wave, and they have no reason to look for other scapegoats.
Larry Wallace, mayor of Mano, Texas, complained that when disasters strike, people in small cities often did not have access to the convenience services provided by big cities in the first place. Many families and businesses in Mano still do not have electricity and water supplies, and the practices of senior politicians such as Governor Abbott make people “lost hope”. Look.”
The raging cold wave has caused Texas electricity prices to soar nearly 200 times, and many residents have received sky-high electricity bills of more than 10,000s. Some netizens accused the government of inaction on social media and said that “the soaring price of electricity, food, hotels, etc. is completely unreasonable. As a result, whoever finally survives from the cold weather in Texas will go bankrupt.”
Recently, the news that an 11-year-old Texas boy was frozen to death due to a power outage at home has brought the Texas Electricity Reliability Commission (ERCOT) and the local main power supply company Antge Power Company to a lawsuit of $100 million. Lawyers in the complaint allege that the two agencies failed to warn people about known dangers, failed to properly guard against winter storms, failed to follow published industry practices and procedures, and failed
to inform users that they would cut power for several days.
What’s more unacceptable is that while the people of Texas are enduring the darkness and cold, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz took his family to the Mexican coastal city of Cancún for a holiday, after he had advised people to “stay at home” when the low temperatures hit. This hypocritical and selfish practice has attracted widespread condemnation from public opinion.
△The Washington Post satirical cartoon. In the picture, Cruz is on vacation in Cancún, Mexico. The onlooker lady asked her male partner, “Isn’t this guy the Texas congressman who left his voters in the dark and cold?” The male partner replied, “Yes, they (Texas voters) didn’t choose the right person.”
The New York Times reported that Cruz chose to leave his state in a critical situation, which was “a particularly confusing decision for an ambitious politician who has run for president and is generally believed to be running for president”.
In response to the American chaos exposed by the “Tex-State crisis”, British scholar Tom Fody pointed out that the American people were not protected in the disaster, and American politicians did not care about it at all. They were unwilling to increase investment in infrastructure, medical insurance and other fields of livelihood, but increased military spending year after year. Washington is only interested in bullets, bombs or private enterprise wallets, which is why the United States has repeatedly shown inability to protect its people, as we have seen in Texas.”