Houston mayor: Biden visit ‘would not be a distraction’
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) said Sunday he did not believe a visit to Texas by President Biden would be a “distraction” after winter storms devastated the state’s energy grid.
“We certainly would welcome him and he would not be a distraction, [nor] a burden,” Turner said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
The mayor told CBS’ Margaret Brennan that the city’s areas of greatest need involved restoring plumbing infrastructure affected by the winter weather.
“With so many homes across the city having pipes that burst because of the frigid weather, and major leaks, major water damage, we need a lot of plumbing materials and supplies right now. We have a number of licensed plumbers but could use even more,” he said.
NEWS: @SylvesterTurner, mayor of Houston – an energy mecca and the 4th largest city in the country – tells @margbrennan “we need to open up our Texas grid,” to allow it to procure energy from generators outside the state. Says state should pay for residents’ “exorbitant” bills pic.twitter.com/pBZvM5IMOW
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 21, 2021
Turner went on to fault the state’s self-contained energy grid, which was not winterized against such conditions, for much of the fallout.
“All of what happened this past week was foreseeable and preventable,” Turner said, noting that as a state legislator he had introduced an unsuccessful bill a decade ago requiring the state’s public utility agency to ensure adequate reserves.
“Our system in Texas is designed primarily for the summer heat and not necessarily a winter event… the reality is climate change is real and these major storms can happen at any time,” he said. “The system needs to be weatherized, we need to maintain adequate reserves and we need to open up our Texas grid. Right now we have a closed grid, we can’t get generation from outside the state because of our system.”