The youth-led Sunrise Movement on Wednesday joined growing calls for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to resign over leadership failures that left Texas woefully unprepared for the historic and deadly winter storm that pummeled the state this week, spurring widespread and life-threatening power outages that sent millions desperately scrambling for warmth.
Paris Moran, Sunrise's digital director, was one of the estimated 15 million people affected by the Texas blackouts, which continued into Wednesday morning as nearly three million households are still without electricity amid below-freezing temperatures.
"Governor Abbott has failed to protect Texans from the climate crisis, promoting a deadly fossil fuel economy and selling us out alongside other leaders for privatization and destructive deregulation."
—Paris Moran, Sunrise Movement
"On Sunday, my household lost power," Moran said in a statement Wednesday. "Our food went bad. We don't have a consistent water flow. My family and I are sustaining on one meal a day as food deserts worsen. And each moment without power, my heart breaks as my parents suffer not only from the storm, but because they can't use the medical devices they rely on to ease them of pain. We are hungry, thirsty, cold, and hurting. And we are not alone in this."
Moran noted that as families across large swaths of Texas continue to suffer in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri—which has killed at least a dozen people in the Houston area alone—Abbott decided to appear on Fox News and spread "lies about the Green New Deal, scapegoating policies that have yet to be enacted instead of taking responsibility for his own failures."
Late Tuesday, as Common Dreams reported, Abbott falsely told Fox host Sean Hannity that the blackouts are attributable to the Texas' renewable energy sources—despite the fact that the state runs largely on fossil fuels—and used the ongoing emergency to take a swipe at the Green New Deal, which he said would be a "deadly deal" for the country.
"Governor Abbott has failed to protect Texans from the climate crisis, promoting a deadly fossil fuel economy and selling us out alongside other leaders for privatization and destructive deregulation," said Moran. "He failed to ensure we were prepared for an extreme weather event like this, and now he's failing to protect us in our moment of need. It is time for him to resign."
"Abbott and the Republican Party have proven that they will not govern under any circumstance, no matter how many lives are at risk," Moran continued. "Whether it's utility blackouts, the climate crisis, or coronavirus, it's easier to find misinformation here in Texas than actual updates from our government, utility companies, and other institutions."
When disaster hits, a government should be there for its people, not abandon them.
As climate disasters continue to worsen, we need a resilient electrical grid, functioning infrastructure, and a government that's there to help.
We need a Green New Deal.https://t.co/6fWJcQqGST
— Sunrise Movement (@sunrisemvmt) February 17, 2021
Contrary to Abbott's erroneous claims that renewable energy sources are to blame for Texas' mass blackouts, the Washington Post's Will Englund reported Tuesday that the culprit is in fact a "financial structure for power generation that offers no incentives to power plant operators to prepare for winter."
"In the name of deregulation and free markets, critics say, Texas has created an electric grid that puts an emphasis on cheap prices over reliable service," Englund wrote.
Arguing that it "doesn't have to be this way," Moran said the Texas crisis illustrates the necessity of a bold alternative vision and concrete action by political leaders nationwide to "invest in resilient infrastructure, ensure a social safety net that protects all of us, and halt the climate crisis once and for all."
"We deserve a government that addresses our basic needs and protects all of us in moments of crisis," said Moran. "Despite the lies you'll hear from Governor Abbott on Fox News, that's truly what the Green New Deal is all about... We must come together and rebuild an era of prosperity through the Decade of The Green New Deal."