The massive energy crisis that’s been overwhelming Texas ever since the state was hit with a record cold snap is now threatening some of its most vulnerable residents, and at least two hospitals in the Austin metro area were being evacuated on Wednesday night due to a lack of hot water and heat.
Matt Largey, an editor at Austin’s NPR station KUT, tweeted out a statement from St. David’s South Austin Medical Centre on Wednesday that confirmed that the hospital was in the process of evacuating some of its “just under 300 patients” from the facility after it “lost water pressure today from the City of Austin.”
“Water feeds the facility’s boiler, so as a result, it is also losing heat,” the statement reads. The release notes that hospital workers were in the process of working with city officials to transport patients most in need to other hospitals in the area with available capacity, and were also working to get water trucks and portable toilets on the scene for the workers and patients who would remain.
Minutes later, Largey reported that Dell Children’s Medical Centre, a pediatric hospital located in Austin, was also without power. In an accompanying statement from the hospital sent from a source, officials confirmed that “extreme weather conditions” had resulted in the facility experiencing “interruptions in service,” and noted that the toilets there did not currently have “flushing capabilities.”
The rolling blackouts happening in Texas are the result of a strain on existing power supply caused by thousands of the state’s residents rushing to turn on their heat all at once. But they’re also the result of — surprise! — corporate mendacity and decades of negligence and oversight at the hands of the state’s right-wing government.
While Texas residents are stuck at home dealing with the fallout from ice storms, widespread power outages and fish tanks and toilets that have literally frozen solid, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been making the rounds on Fox News, blaming renewable energy sources like solar and wind for the blackouts. In a blog posted on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s website, Former Texas governor Rick Perry recently insinuated that the situation represented a chance for Texans to get tough and make a sacrifice in order to keep the left from exploiting an “opportunity to expand their top-down, radical proposals.”
“Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” Perry wrote. “Try not to let whatever the crisis of the day is take your eye off of having a resilient grid that keeps America safe personally, economically, and strategically.”
While millions of Texans freeze, the GOP is using this moment to flaunt their commitment to ignoring the climate disaster that’s no longer just at their doorstep but in their living rooms, warming up a bowl of chilli and getting ready to watch the Longhorns game.
It’s a commitment to the fossil fuel lobby that’s not just ignorant, it’s malignant — and it will one day spell disaster for all of us.