US Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday slammed Texas for getting caught off guard by last week’s massive winter storm — saying the Lone Star State is paying the price for ignoring climate change.
“The bottom line is, Texas thought it could go it alone and built a system that ignored climate change,” Schumer said during a Lower East Side press conference, referring to the state’s decision to stay off the country’s national power grid.
“It was not what’s called resilient, and now Texas is paying the price,” Schumer said.
“I hope they learned a lesson,” he added.
The storm, which swept across a large swath of the US last week, brought record-low temperatures and unprecedented icing that knocked out power to millions of people in Texas and crippled parts of the state’s water system.
The state’s largest utility company — the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — and government officials have come under fire for being unprepared for the storm that has now killed more than 70 in the country, most of them in Texas.
Texas is the only state in the continental US to run its own stand-alone electricity grid and had not been forced to weatherize because it is not subject to federal oversight.
“When we build power, when we build anything now, we have to take into account that climate change is real, or people will have to be caught the way the people in Texas were,” Schumer said.
“When I wrote the [Hurricane] Sandy bill, $60 billion for New York, we made sure everything was resilient,” he said. “When they built back the subways, built back this, built back that, they were going to be resistant to climate changes, and we have to do that.”
Schumer also took a shot at US Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is under fire for heading to Cancun, Mexico, in the aftermath of the storm.
“Ted Cruz is getting overwhelming criticism from Democrats and Republicans, and it is well-deserved,” Schumer said.