Beto O'Rourke says Texas is 'nearing a failed state' as millions remain without heat and power in freezing temperatures

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Beto O'Rourke says Texas is 'nearing a failed state' as millions remain without heat and power in freezing temperatures
A vehicles drives on snow and sleet covered roads February 15, 2021, in Spring, Texas.David J. Phillip/AP
  • Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke said Texas was "nearing a failed state."
  • O'Rourke blamed failures of GOP leadership as a deadly snowstorm left millions in Texas without power in freezing weather.
  • The unusually cold Arctic storm hit Texas this week and created a surge in demand for power, causing the state's electricity grid to fail.

Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke said Texas was "nearing a failed state" and blamed GOP lawmakers as a deadly snowstorm left millions there without power or running water in freezing temperatures.

"We are nearing a failed state in Texas and it has nothing to do with God or natural disasters," O'Rourke told MSNBC on Tuesday evening. "It has everything to do with the leadership and those in positions of public trust who have failed us."

Around 2.9 million Texans remained without power overnight on Tuesday due to a severe storm which crippled the state's independent power grid. At least two people in Texas and at least 20 nationwide were reported to have died as a result of the storm and freezing temperatures.

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O'Rourke, who sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and served in Texas's 16th congressional district until 2018, told MSNBC that situation in Texas was "worse than you are hearing" and blamed the GOP leadership for prioritising other issues.

He blamed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other GOP leaders for focusing on "stupid culture battles," including a legislative effort to force the Dallas Mavericks to play the national anthem before home games, which was reported by the Texas Tribune.

The unusually cold Arctic storm which on Monday hit Texas and other south-western states created a surge in demand for power, causing the state's independent electricity grid to fail, Insider's Charles Davis reported. Texas operates the only almost entirely stand-alone electricity grid in the continental United States, meaning it is unable to draw on other grids when there are surges in demand.

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Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott in a statement Tuesday blamed the power outage on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state's independent energy operator, which he said had been "anything but reliable."

He later told Fox News that the power outages were caused directly by the state's use of wind and solar power, the Daily Beast reported. The claim has been repeated by other GOP figures including the state's agriculture commissioner Sid Miller.

Post by Sid Miller.

But an ERCOT official told Bloomberg that frozen wind turbines had been the least significant factor in the blackouts.

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The official said that the main factors were frozen instruments at natural gas, coal, and nuclear facilities, as well as limited supplies of natural gas.

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