Maddow shames Texas Republicans for knowing 10 years ago their power plants couldn't withstand the cold
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow (Photo: Screen capture)

It has been ten years since the Texas government was told to prevent another huge blackout due to the cold that they needed to weatherize their power production facilities, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow said.

She began by citing news headlines about the failures of the power and readiness. One said that Texas was warned 10 years ago, and "regulators again face scrutiny." It was that part she honed in on, after a February 2011 freeze caused exactly the same problems in the state.

"Exactly ten years ago, there was another bitter cold snap that hit Texas," said Maddow. "And just like now, ten years ago, Texas' power grid could not handle it. Their ability to generate power collapsed because of the cold, just as demand spiked for power to provide heat. And in 2011, just like now, the grid collapsed. And Texas had power blackouts rolling across the state. And after that happened in 2011, for all the danger and life-threatening conditions that it created, the national power regulator, the FERC, did a 300-plus page report on what went wrong in the cold weather event that happened in Texas, and they told Texas in that report that the Texas power grid was absolutely vulnerable to that happening again.

She explained that the state didn't usually have cold temperatures, but when it did, the Texas power infrastructure wasn't designed to handle it. FERC told them ten years ago that the way to avoid another situation like what happened in 2011 was to weatherize their power-generating structures.

"And that wasn't exactly a rocket science level recommendation," said Maddow. "This has been a recurring thing. Even before it happened in 2011, it happened 12 years before that, 1989. A cold snap in Texas, power grid collapse. They had blackouts. 2011, power grid collapse, they had blackouts. FERC is like, this isn't that difficult. You need to insulate stuff. We know it's not always cold, but when it is, you can't afford to have the power go out. People will die. You have to winterize your power generating and distribution infrastructure so everything doesn't freeze solid and fall over and break when it's cold, which is when people really need to have power. Texas shrugged that off. Because they can."

Every other state in the country must abide by the regulations set by FERC, she explained, because they belong to the United States power grid. Texas refuses to join it.

"So the federal government cannot regulate anything about texas power production and distribution. And so Texas power and distribution falls apart in the cold," Maddow continued. "They run it the Texas way. They don't like regulations. They don't like requirements about being resilient in cold weather, despite their previous experience of living through exactly this kind of thing. After the fiasco in 2011 and those recommendations from FERC, Texas announced some best practices for all its power producers. But that's just what they were, best practices. It didn't actually require any of them to do anything."

So, ten years later, the freeze happened again, and the power problems happened again. The difference this time is that Republican leaders in the state are going on television to blame Democrats. Texas hasn't had a Democratic governor since before George W. Bush. Their legislature is Republican. Their senators are Republican. Yet, somehow, Democrats and the Green New Deal are to blame because 10 percent of the state's power comes from alternative energy.

Wind turbines work in the cold, as people in Greenland and Denmark can attest. They just have to be winterized. Iowa, for example, has very cold temperatures and a ton of windmills and never has any problems. But Iowa also is regulated by the federal government that requires they be weatherized.

"Texas' biggest problem in this power grid failure has actually been the loss of facilities that pump and are powered by natural gas," said Maddow. "It's actually been their fossil fuel plants that have been a much bigger problem. But honestly, looking at it that way is kind of the wrong way around. The problem isn't renewable energy versus not renewable energy. It's that none of the government production facilities in the state of Texas have been required to harden themselves and insulate themselves to withstand the cold. Because small government Texas doesn't believe in requiring anything."

See her takedown below:

they knew for 10 years the power was an issue -- but Texas refused to act