Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said passing the Green New Deal would have helped to prevent the devastating power outages in Texas that have left millions struggling to find warmth in their homes amid a brutal winter storm and record-shattering cold temperatures.
"The infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you *don’t* pursue a Green New Deal," Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted on Tuesday night.
More than 3.4 million customers remained without power on Wednesday in Texas, according to PowerOutage.us, which tracks utility outage reports. There were also widespread outages in Louisiana and Mississippi, and rolling blackouts across a broad swath of the Midwest.
State leaders, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, have criticized the operations of the state's power grid. Abbott on Tuesday called for an investigation into the group that manages the power grid in order to prevent more such outages.
"The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours," Abbott said. "Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable."
The governor said he wants to "get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions."
During a Tuesday press conference, ERCOT, which operates the state’s power grid, said that failures in natural gas, coal and nuclear energy systems were responsible for about double the number of outages caused by frozen wind turbines.
At least 20 people have died as a result of the storm or its aftermath.
But Ocasio-Cortez said policy failures such as the lack of investment in the nation's crumbling infrastructure, political leaders who do not believe in climate change and the abandonment of low-income, minority and indigenous communities are to blame for the dire situation.
"Weak on sweeping next-gen public infrastructure investments, little focus on equity so communities are left behind, climate deniers in leadership so they don’t long prep for disaster," Ocasio-Cortez added. "We need to help people *now.* Long-term we must realize these are the consequences of inaction."
Ocasio-Cortez unveiled the Green New Deal in 2019 alongside Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. While President Biden has not endorsed the ambitious proposal, which calls for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, he has described it as a "crucial framework" to his plan.
Other notable goals proposed in the resolution include investing in new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, spurring "massive growth" in clean manufacturing in the U.S. and providing "high-quality health care" for all Americans.
So far, Biden has signed an array of directives intended to address climate change, including pausing new federal oil leases, rejoining the Paris climate agreement, eliminating lucrative subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, revoking permits for the Keystone XL Pipeline and converting the government's fleet of vehicles to electric power.
Biden called the spate of orders part of an effort to "supercharge our administration's ambitious plan to confront the existential threat of climate change."