The Cost of the GOP’s Climate Denial In Texas Cannot Be Ignored
Washington D.C. – Winter Storm Uri has had an extraordinary impact on Texas and the country, with millions still reeling from the storm’s economic, human, and safety consequences nearly two weeks after the first extreme temperatures hit.
Those human and economic costs were further exacerbated by the overt climate denialism and rejection of science by Republican leaders like Gov. Gregg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz, and former Gov. Rick Perry. In the days following the storm, these Texas lawmakers immediately launched false, misleading, and political attacks against climate action and President Joe Biden’s proposal to create millions of good-paying union jobs in the clean energy economy by investing in infrastructure.
These GOP leaders further sold out their constituents by backing the interests of the oil and gas lobby – which has donated heavily to each of these politicians’ campaigns’ – by blaming customers for the colossal energy bills being sent out by utility companies. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has even said that Texan families who are facing electric bills into the tens of thousands deserve the skyrocketing bills.
Years of climate denialism from these elected officials in Texas and failure to take action left the electric grid vulnerable to extreme weather events, exposing millions to frigid temperatures and resulting in 16 Texans’ deaths and the economic strain now on thousands of families who are facing colossal electricity bills for the power they used during the storm. Additionally, more than 7,000 Texas residents remained without power Thursday afternoon. Nearly 8.8 million were under boil water advisories at the height of the crisis.
Below are just some of the many stories recording the cost of the GOP’s climate denial and failure to prepare for Winter Storm Uri:
- A 63-year-old Army veteran surviving off social security emptied his savings account to pay a $16,752 electric bill after prices skyrocketed.
- A special education teacher in Bedford who lost power during the crisis faces a $7,000 electricity bill. Similar charges are being seen across thestate, with one Dallas resident also facing a $7,000 electricity bill.
- A family in Willow Park, west of Dallas, faces a bill for their three-bedroom home that reaches nearly $10,000. Automatic payments taken by their utility provider forced the family to close their debit card account.
- A nursing student, caring for a 78-year-old father following bypass surgery, was hit with a $6,500 bill for just 17 days of power. Her husband, a bookkeeper, assumes the bill will be taken to collections and will result in them having to sell their car.
- A resident of a Houston suburb was charged almost $10,000 by Griddy for power between February 1st and 19th.
- A widow in Rockwall faces a $5,000 bill, even after limiting energy use to a single heater.
- A woman in Denison was automatically charged $1,346.17 for electricity for the first two weeks of February, which was more than she had in her checking account, causing her bank to charge her overdraft fees and affect other bills.
- A Willow Park family was auto-billed for a $17,300 monthly electricity bill, which wiped out their bank account and forced them to close it.
- A Sugar Land grandmother and three children died in a house fire while trying to keep warm.
- In Southwest Houston, two people died and two were hospitalized from carbon monoxide poisoning after running a vehicle in a garage to keep warm.
- An 11-year-old boy died in his bed from suspected hypothermia after his mobile home’s power was cut off for more than 24 hours.
- In north Abilene, a 60-year-old man was found dead in his home, and his 72-year-old wife was hospitalized after being without power for three days.
- In Crosby, a 75-year-old army veteran was found dead in his truck after going to retrieve a spare oxygen tank from the vehicle.
- In Abilene, a man died at a local medical facility after he was unable to get dialysis treatment due to water outages.
- In a community south of San Antonio, a 69-year-old man who lived alone was found dead inside his home, which was without power.
- In Houston, a family of 7 endured days without water and power after avoiding warming shelters due to Covid-19 exposure concerns.
- In Irving, a family of 5, including a 7-month-old baby and three-year-old twins, struggled to keep warm and fed without power or access to supplies.
- In Killeen, a family without power rationed oxygen tanks for their 5-month-old baby born with premature lungs.
- In Fort Worth, a husband struggled to find food for his pregnant wife and 11-month-old daughter.
- In Robstown, a pediatric nurse struggled to care for her 91-year-old mother and 23-year-old terminally ill daughter as they went days without power, water, and food.
- A mother of five desperately sought hotel accommodation for her diabetic and immunocompromised children as nearly two dozen cases of her children’s insulin spoiled due to power outages.
- An 18-year-old San Antonio resident spent four hours trying to find a doctor after suffering an allergic reaction.