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Gov. Greg Abbott, In Statewide Address, Promises Answers On Winter Weather Disaster

Greg Abbott.
Jordan Vonderhaar
The Texas Tribune
Gov. Greg Abbott spoke at a press conference about the winter storm that was approaching Texas on Feb. 13, 2021.

Gov. Greg Abbott, speaking Wednesday evening in a rare statewide televised address, sought to reassure Texans that the state was moving aggressively to get to the bottom of the power grid failure that left millions of them in the cold and dark last week.

"Tragic does not even begin to describe" the suffering Texans endured, Abbott said from the State Emergency Operations Center in Austin. "Many of you are angry — and you have a right to be angry. I'm angry too. At a time when essential services were needed the most, the system broke. You deserve answers. You will get those answers."

Abbott did not make any new announcements about the state's response to the crisis. He continued to blame the state's electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, for offering false assurances that it was ready for the storm, and he reiterated he has designated ERCOT reform and the "winterization" of the power system as emergency items for the current legislative session.

"I assure you this: This legislative session will not end until we fix these problems," Abbott said.

Earlier Wednesday, ERCOT held its first meeting since the storm and finalized the resignations of six board members. Abbott said "more must be done" to overhaul ERCOT.

Abbott's remarks came on the eve of committee meetings in the state House and Senate that will begin to probe the winter weather emergency. And on Friday, President Joe Biden is set to visit Houston to get an update on the state's recovery from the crisis.

Democrats have accused state Republican leaders of neglecting the power grid for years. In a statement after Abbott's speech, the head of the state Democratic Party, Gilberto Hinojosa, said Abbott should follow the lead of the ERCOT board members and resign as well, citing Abbott's "lack of foresight and inability to manage this crisis."

This story was originally published by The Texas Tribune.

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