Bitter recriminations in Texas after millions left without power and clean water – Channel 4 News


Temperatures in Texas have returned to normal February levels, but after the bitter cold of Winter Storm Uri, there are bitter recriminations in the Lone Star State.

In Harris County, home to the city of Houston, some residents are still having to boil water to make it safe.

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Texas Officials Respond to Fiery Explosion After Train Collides With 18-Wheeler



An 18-wheeler collided with a train in Milam County, Texas, on Tuesday morning, February 23, causing several fuel tank cars to catch fire, reports said. Milam County Sheriff Chris White shared video from the scene, showing black smoke billowing from the fiery crash in Cameron. Sheriff White wrote on Facebook that the fire was “primarily petroleum,” and that there were no reports of chemical hazards. Officials told local media that both the driver of the truck and the conductor of the train were uninjured. Residents were advised to avoid the area, which was being attended by “numerous” emergency vehicles, White said. Credit: Sheriff Chris White via Storyful

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US winter storm: Sea turtles rescued in Texas released back into ocean on slides | US News


Thousands of turtles have been released back into the sea after they were rescued during the winter storm that hit Texas and other southern states.

Last week, freezing temperatures cold-stunned the creatures and impacted their ability to swim or feed – resulting in a massive rescue mission to save them.

Now, video footage from Texas Sealife Centre shows the turtles being released down a wet slide into the Gulf of Mexico.

Image:
Thousands of turtles have been released back into the ocean. Pic: Sea Turtle Inc

The organisation cared for almost a thousand of the marine creatures after the storm brought record cold temperatures to the Lone Star State.

Jamie McWilliams from Texas Sealife Centre said around 200 turtles were released into the sea on Monday.

Another organisation, Sea Turtle Inc, also shared footage of thousands of sea turtles being released into the Gulf down blue wet slides.

It said that “thousands of community members bundled up and volunteered long hours” to aid in the rescue. “Many with no electricity, water, or warmth in their own homes still assisted Sea Turtle Inc.”

Residents, some of whom didn’t have heat or basic amenities in their own homes due to the unusually chilly weather, rescued the cold-stunned sea turtles and dropped them off at a convention centre last week.

Pic: South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau
Image:
Residents took car loads of the creatures to South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau in the hope of saving them

“Every 15 minutes or less there’s another truck or SUV that pulls up,” said Ed Caum, executive director of the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.

He said people were bringing one or two sea turtles, and sometimes more. “We had trailers full… coming in that had 80, 100, 50,” he said.

The convention centre started receiving the turtles after its neighbour, Sea Turtle Inc, became overwhelmed with the numbers being brought in.

Pic: South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau
Image:
There were fears some of the sea turtles would not survive

Mr Caum said they had “collected” more than 3,500 sea turtles, but said he hesitated to use the word rescued because “we know we’re going to lose some”.

The extreme winter weather prompted US President Joe Biden to declare a major disaster in Texas.

The state’s power grid was crippled due to the cold, and, despite Texas being rich in oil and gas, millions of residents were without power for days.

People wait in line to fill propane tanks Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Houston. Customers waited over an hour in the freezing rain to fill their tanks. Millions in Texas still had no power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state's power grid and causing widespread blackouts. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Image:
Texas is not accustomed to such cold temperatures and was unprepared. Pic: AP

There have been major disruptions to water supply, with more than 1,200 public water systems having problems.

More than 7.9 million people in Texas in 202 counties were still having issues with their water supply as of Monday evening, a spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said.

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‘I am pleading’: Texas mayor, a Democrat, presses Biden to stop releasing illegals into his city


by WorldTribune Staff, February 19, 2021 The mayor of the border city of Del Rio in Texas has called on Joe Biden to stop releasing illegal immigrants into his community. Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano made the plea because he said the city doesn’t have the resources to help illegals and he fears the health […]

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Amid Texas freeze, oil producers still shut; governor bans natural gas exports



Alvin Williams, 66, checks on his smartphone while taking a shelter at Gallery Furniture store which opened its door and transformed into a warming station after winter weather caused electricity blackouts in Houston, Texas, U.S. February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Go Nakamura

February 18, 2021

By Devika Krishna Kumar, Gary McWilliams and Jennifer Hiller

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Texas oil producers and refiners remained shut for a fifth day on Wednesday after several days of blistering cold, and the governor ordered a ban on natural gas exports from the state to try to speed the restoration of power.

The cold snap, which has killed at least 21 people and knocked out power to more than 4 million people in Texas, is not expected to let up until this weekend.

Governor Greg Abbott directed Texas natural gas providers not to ship outside the state until Sunday and asked the state energy regulator to enforce his export ban.

“That will also increase the power that’s going to be produced and sent to homes here in Texas,” Abbott said at a news conference Wednesday.

The ban prompted a response from officials in Mexico, which relies on imports via pipeline from Texas. More than 40% of U.S. natural gas exports come from Texas.

Texas produces more natural gas and oil than any other U.S. state, and its operators, unlike those in North Dakota or Alaska, are not used to dealing with frigid temperatures.

The state accounts for roughly one-quarter of U.S. natural gas production, about 27.8 billion cubic feet per day, but it consumes only part of that, shipping the rest to other states or via pipeline to Mexico, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Texas’ energy sector has been hit hard by the cold, with about 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of daily refining capacity shuttered and at least 1 million bpd of oil production out as well.

Natural gas output also slumped. At this time a week ago, Texas was producing about 7.9 billion cubic feet per day, but that fell to 1.9 billion on Wednesday, according to preliminary data from Refinitiv Eikon. Natural gas accounts for half of Texas’ power generation.

Christi Craddick, chair of the Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator, said late Wednesday the agency had received the governor’s request and was reviewing it.

The request set up a game of political football, according to a person familiar with the matter, between groups that do not have the authority to interfere with interstate commerce.

U.S. gas pipeline exports to Mexico dropped to 3.8 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day on Wednesday, down from an average over the past 30 days of 5.7 bcf, according to data from Refinitiv, about three-quarters of which comes from Texas.

Mexico’s economy minister, Tatiana Clouthier, said Wednesday she had contacted the U.S. government’s representative in Mexico, seeking to guarantee supplies of natural gas for Mexico during the cold snap.

“By not acting together, the results could be more complicated,” she said on Twitter.

One cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) loaded at Freeport LNG in Texas on Wednesday had been slated to sail to Mexico, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. The tanker remained off the coast of Texas. A Freeport LNG spokeswoman declined to comment.

Operations at Cheniere Energy’s Corpus Christi plant, the state’s largest LNG producer, were halted by weather disruptions this week. A spokesman declined to comment on the governor’s order.

Overall, daily U.S. natural gas production is down by roughly 19% from the end of last week to 71.9 bcf per day on Wednesday, according to preliminary Eikon data.

With more snow expected in key oil-and-gas production areas like the Permian and northern Louisiana, production is expected to stay offline through Friday, said Anna Lenzmeier, energy analyst at BTU Analytics.

“The second half of this week is shaping up to be just as tumultuous as the long weekend, and natural gas prices could continue to top triple digits before the weekend,” she said.

Several Texas ports, including Houston, Galveston and key LNG exporting sites at Freeport and Sabine Pass were closed due to weather, according to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Lally.

One bcf of gas can supply about 5 million U.S. homes per day.

Producers in the Permian Basin, the largest U.S. oilfield, said electrical outages were the main issue, and that until power was restored, restarting any frozen equipment would be challenging.

Roughly 1 million bpd of crude production has been halted, according to Wood Mackenzie analysts, and it could be weeks before it is fully restored.

The supply disruptions drove further increases in oil prices, which ended the session up more than 1.5%. U.S. natural gas climbed to a more than three-month high after rising more than 10% on Tuesday.

The freeze has also sent Canadian natural gas exports to the United States soaring to levels last seen in 2010, said IHS Markit analyst Ian Archer.

Net Canadian exports have jumped above 7.5 bcf a day for the last couple of days and Archer estimated they were close to 8 bcf per day on Wednesday.

“We are seeing just absolutely huge withdrawals and exports to the U.S.,” Archer said.

(Graphic: U.S. natural gas production slumps, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/gjnvwzalmpw/Pasted%20image%201613575433245.png)

(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York and Gary McWilliams in Houston; Additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly, Laila Kearney and Scott DiSavino in New York, Nia Williams in Calgary and Arpan Varghese and Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis, Leslie Adler and Kim Coghill)



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Texas Senator Ted Cruz apologises over trip to Mexico during weather crisis – Channel 4 News


Imagine your state is under an emergency – with freezing temperatures cutting power and water supplies to millions of people.

Not the ideal time to jet off on a family holiday in Cancun, Mexico, if you’re the senator.

Ted Cruz has now apologised for making that trip, having worked out it was “obviously a mistake”.

The Republican is facing outrage not just for jetting off abroad, but also for apparently leaving the family poodle behind.

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The crisis in Texas continues



The failure of public systems hits people of color hardest. Plus, building an inclusive business curriculum, and the passing of Fat Boys’ Markie Dee. Read More

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US Senator Ted Cruz says it was a mistake to holiday in Mexico while Texas faced a deadly winter storm


US Senator Ted Cruz has flown into a storm of criticism after leaving his home state of Texas in the grip of a deadly deep freeze, for a family holiday jaunt to the Mexican resort of Cancun he said he took to please his young daughters.

“It was obviously a mistake. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it,” the 50-year-old Republican told reporters as he returned to Houston on Thursday.

Mr Cruz said he had planned to stay through the weekend but had second thoughts “almost the moment I sat down on the plane”.

In text messages obtained by American Bridge, a Democratic political group, Cruz’s wife Heidi asked neighbours whether they wanted to accompany the family to Cancun.

“Anyone can or want to leave for the week?” she wrote, noting that rooms at the city’s Ritz Carlton cost “$309 plus tax.”

With millions of Texans grappling with the fallout from a ferocious winter storm, Mr Cruz, who ran for president in 2016 and is viewed as a presidential hopeful in 2024, faced condemnation after photos on social media showed him in an airport line, in a passenger lounge, aboard an airliner and leaving Cancun airport in Mexico.

Some critics slammed his comments blaming his daughters, aged 10 and 12, for his decision to visit the resort, where the weather was a balmy 26 degrees Celsius on Thursday evening.

The Texas Democratic Party called on him to resign.

Demonstrators stand in front of US Senator Ted Cruz’s home demanding his resignation, Thursday, Feb 18, 2021, in Houston

Houston Chronicle

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, speaking before Mr Cruz was spotted at Cancun airport, said tongue-in-cheek: “I don’t have any updates on the exact location of Senator Ted Cruz, nor does anyone at the White House.”

Millions of Texans remained paralysed by power and water outages after a winter storm and freezing temperatures that hampered efforts to restore full power.

“We need to be here, we need to be in the battle, we need to be helping Texans,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told MSNBC when asked about Mr Cruz.

In December, Mr Cruz criticised Austin, Texas, Mayor Stephen Adler on Twitter for taking a trip to Mexico in December while telling others not to travel during the pandemic.

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As Texas freezes, photos ‘show Ted Cruz flying to Mexico resort’


Washington: US Senator Ted Cruz flew to the Mexican resort city of Cancun with his family, Fox News reported, as millions of his fellow Texans struggled through a deadly deep freeze, sparking a slew of criticism.

The Republican lawmaker, 50, faced widespread criticism as photos circulated on social media showing him in an airport line, in a passenger lounge, aboard an airliner and departing an airport in Mexico. It was unclear when the photos were taken and Cruz’s Senate office did not respond to multiple queries.

Fox News said Cruz flew to Cancun with his family, quoting an unidentified Republican source who said: “The photos speak for themselves.”

Cruz’s social media pages and official website made no mention of the photos. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016.

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Texas Spins Into the Wind


While millions of Texans remain without power for a third day, the wind industry and its advocates are spinning a fable that gas, coal and nuclear plants—not their frozen turbines—are to blame. PolitiFact proclaims “Natural gas, not wind turbines, main driver of Texas power shortage.” Climate-change conformity is hard for the media to resist, but we don’t mind. So here are the facts to cut through the spin.

Texas energy regulators were already warning of rolling blackouts late last week as temperatures in western Texas plunged into the 20s, causing wind turbines to freeze. Natural gas and coal-fired plants ramped up to cover the wind power shortfall as demand for electricity increased with falling temperatures.

Some readers have questioned our reporting Wednesday (“The Political Making of a Texas Power Outage”) that wind’s share of electricity generation in Texas plunged to 8% from 42%. How can that be, they wonder, when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot) has reported that it counts on wind to meet only 10% of its winter capacity.

Ercot’s disclosure is slippery. Start with the term “capacity,” which means potential maximum output. This is different than actual power generation. Texas has a total winter capacity of about 83,000 megawatts (MW) including all power sources. Total power demand and generation, however, at their peak are usually only around 57,000 MW. Regulators build slack into the system.

Texas has about 30,000 MW of wind capacity, but winds aren’t constant or predictable. Winds this past month have generated between about 600 and 22,500 MW. Regulators don’t count on wind to provide much more than 10% or so of the grid’s total capacity since they can’t command turbines to increase power like they can coal and gas plants.

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