Southwest (AZ NM OK TX)

Texas PUC Chair Resigns After Criticism Over Management Of Power Outages

"The chairwoman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the agency that regulates the state’s electric, telecommunication, and water and sewer utilities, resigned Monday, according to a resignation letter provided to the Texas Tribune."

Source: Texas Tribune, 03/02/2021

Feds Withdraw Environmental Impact Statement, Delaying Oak Flat Land Swap

"The U.S. Forest Service has withdrawn the final environmental impact statement for a huge copper mine near Superior, temporarily halting a land swap that would have given the mine's owners title to a parcel deemed sacred by many Apaches and other Southwestern tribes."

Source: Arizona Republic, 03/02/2021

Five ERCOT Board Members Who Live Outside of Texas Resign After Outage

"Five board members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — the entity that manages and operates the electricity grid that covers much of Texas — will resign on Wednesday, according to a notice to the Public Utility Commission. A sixth has withdrawn his application to the board. All six live outside of Texas."

Source: Texas Tribune, 02/24/2021

How Texas Froze: Neglect Of Grid And Climate Warnings Set The Stage

"State officials’ repeated failure to act on deeply researched advice for averting grid catastrophes paralleled Texas’ years-long non-response to experts’ warnings about the dangers of climate change."

Source: Inside Climate News, 02/24/2021

Texas Freeze Led To Release Of Tons Of Air Pollutants As Refineries Shut

"The largest U.S. oil refiners released tons of air pollutants into the skies over Texas this past week, according to figures provided to the state, as refineries and petrochemical plants in the region scrambled to shut production during frigid weather."

Source: Reuters, 02/22/2021

Abbott Appointees Cut Power Reliability Team Before Deadly Storm

"Late last year, as winter approached and power companies prepared for cold weather, Gov. Greg Abbott’s hand-picked utility regulators decided they no longer wanted to work with a nonprofit organization they had hired to monitor and help Texas enforce the state’s electric reliability standards."

Source: Houston Chronicle, 02/22/2021

Grid Data Can Guide Reporting on Power Disasters

The power and water fiasco that followed a deep freeze in Texas was a predictable debacle and, thus, a warning signal to journalists covering disasters and climate-driven weather extremes. To help, the latest Reporter’s Toolbox provides a rundown of data sources about power grids, from local, regional and national entities, and recommends you start tracking the numbers and be prepared.

SEJ Publication Types: 

"Texas Was Warned a Decade Ago Its Grid Was Unready for Cold"

"Federal regulators warned Texas that its power plants couldn’t be counted on to reliably churn out electricity in bitterly cold conditions a decade ago, when the last deep freeze plunged 4 million people into the dark."

Source: Bloomberg, 02/18/2021


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