"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."
Southwest (AZ NM OK TX)
"The U.S. Forest Service has withdrawn the final environmental impact statement for a huge copper mine near Superior, temporarily halting a land swap that would have given the mine's owners title to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."
"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 A sixth has withdrawn his application to the board.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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
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.
"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."
"One of the nation’s premier nuclear laboratories isn’t taking the necessary precautions to guard against wildfires, according to an audit by the U.S. Energy Department’s inspector general."
"The Mexican wolf was hunted to the brink of extinction. But as it is reintroduced, conservationists hope to quell the old enmity between 'el lobo' and the farmer. "