Texas Standard For February 22, 2021

Stop right there: an order from the Public Utility Commission to put the brakes on outrageous power bills after the winter storm. As lawmakers step in to get answers to ongoing questions about who and what’s to blame for the meltdown in utilities statewide, another long term ripple effect looms: the impact to Texas’ reputation. We’ll hear more. And: Hurricanes, pandemic, then a winter storm… what compounding natural disasters can do to mental health in Texas, and what to look out for, yourself. Also: With the power back on for most, many Texans are still dealing with water issues. We’ll have expert advice on tap and much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardFebruary 22, 2021 9:36 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Monday, February 22, 2021.

Texas’ Black Eye

As Texas moves forward in its emergency and recovery efforts, questions mount over why and how this cold rendered the state powerless for so long and who is accountable. The so-called “Texas exceptionalism” so many of our elected leaders tout in their politics will likely be bruised for a long time, writes Ross Ramsey with the Texas Tribune, who talks to the Standard.

Baby Formula and Food Situation

This past week, baby food and formula were among the items parents have most desperate to get their hands on. Winter Storm Uri caught many parents, who didn’t have enough supplies on hand, off guard, . So what to do? The Standard talks to Carla Cooper, executive director of LIFE Houston, a food bank for baby formula and food.

Farmers and Ranchers

Record cold, power outages and boil water notices have wreaked havoc for millions of Texans. KERA’s Stella Chavez reports that last week’s relentless blast of winter also frayed the nerves of farmers and ranchers who power the nation’s food supply.

Abbott Plan to Ban Natural Gas Exports

By now the lights are back on for most Texans as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says power supply is now exceeding demand.  But as the dust settles after a chaotic week for America’s so-called energy capital, long term effects of Winter Storm Uri are becoming more clear. Matt Smith, director of commodity research for ClipperData, talks to the Standard.

Disaster-Related Trauma

It’s been a rough few years for Texas. Starting with Hurricane Harvey in 2017, a pandemic, now this Texas winter storm. Jeff Temple, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch talks to the Standard about disaster-related trauma.

Houston BIPOC Rebound

Water and power is back for most Houstonians and many are trying to assess the damage and move on. But rebounding from disasters like this has historically been easier for whiter, wealthier communities. Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall has more from local leaders and advocates who say this could be yet another devastating blow to communities of color.

Voices from the Storm

Plumbing Tips

We know lots of you out there are dealing with plumbing problems in the wake of the winter storm that hit Texas last week – and as water outages end across the state, some of you who haven’t had any issues yet may not be totally out of the woods. That’s why we’ve invited Nikki Robbins to dispense some practical plumbing advice. She’s a plumber, and the owner of Nikki’s Plumbing Company in Dallas.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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