Texas Standard For February 25, 2021

After days of finger pointing and demands for accountability, hearings get underway at the Texas Capitol to get the the bottom of last week’s outages. We’ll have the latest. Also, details from the governor’s statewide address last night on what comes next as Texans demand answers in the wake of last week, and solutions to prevent such failures in the future. And: What Texas can learn from Australia when it comes to massive power outages and the politics of renewable energy. Also: A federal judge puts an indefinite hold on President Biden’s attempts to freeze deportations at the border. The implications plus much today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardFebruary 25, 2021 9:43 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, February 25, 2021.

House Electrical Blackouts Hearing

The Texas House is holding a joint committee hearing today examining the extreme weather that resulted in ERCOT forcing power outages across the state. In the House, it’s a joint hearing between the committees on State Affairs and Energy Resources. KUT energy reporter Mose Buchele talks to the Standard about what we can expect to hear.

Judge Blocks Biden’s Deportation Freeze 

An attempt by President Joe Biden’s administration to halt deportations of undocumented immigrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border has been indefinitely halted by a federal judge in Texas. This move is yet another setback in a 100-day deportation moratorium Biden tried to implement on his third day in office. Fatma Marouf, director of the Immigration Clinic at Texas A&M School of Law, talks to the Standard.

Abbott’s Address to the State

Amid withering criticism from Democrats that he bears some responsibility for the massive power and water outages during last week’s winter storm, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last night delivered a statewide address in which he laid out steps to prevent another such disaster. As Katya Bandouil reports, the Republican governor conceded that, in his words, “the system broke.”

Austin Apartments Without Water

While most water utilities statewide have by now restored service to most customers, thousands of Texans remain without water.  Many of those affected live in apartment complexes, where one broken pipe can mean no water for an entire building. In the Texas capitol city, KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy talked with tenants who’ve been without water for over a week.

Australia and Texas Wind Power After Blackouts

In the midst of a storm that left millions of people in the dark, the scapegoat for some became wind power. Green energy sounds like quite a deal until the turbine blades stop spinning, they said. Sound familiar? We could be talking about what happened in Texas last week. But it also describes Australia in 2016, when high winds led to widespread blackouts, and– deserved or not – a black eye for wind power. So writes Ketan Joshi in The Guardian. He’s an Australian science writer and author of the book “Windfall: Unlocking a Fossil Free Future.”

Houston Evictions Continue 

Houston-area courts are still evicting hundreds of renters each week, six months after the Centers For Disease Control paused evictions during the pandemic. In Houston, more renters have been evicted during COVID-19 than almost anywhere else in the country. As Houston Public Media’s Jen Rice reports, some local judges are evicting people even when they and their attorneys say they should be protected under the CDC order.

Germ-Fighting Lights

Since the coronavirus pandemic became a fact of life, most of us have thought a lot about how disease and germs are transmitted through the air and on surfaces. And some folks have turned to technology, looking for that extra measure of protection from pathogens. A number of products claim that UV light can vanquish germs that cling to objects. Our tech expert, Omar Gallaga has been looking at these.

Texas HHS Data Map 

Texas seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have faced many hardships over the last year because of COVID-19. But those hardships were amplified many times over when the massive winter storm hit Texas last week. It knocked out power, heat and

water for many senior facilities across the state. The Standard’s Terri Langford talks about how nursing homes and other facilities were impacted during the storm. The Standard’s Caroline Covington has put together a map.


All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Michael Marks with the talk of Texas.

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