Saturday, July 2, 2022


The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.


SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

TX Power Reform Triggered by Winter Storm Uri Needs Public Input


Wednesday, January 19, 2022   

Not enough has been done to prevent another catastrophic power-grid failure such as the one in Texas last February, according to AARP Texas, which warns that consumers will foot the bill for what comes next.

A rare winter storm left millions without power and 246 Texans dead, almost two-thirds of them age 60 or older.

Tim Morstad, director of AARP Texas, estimated that gas and electric customers will pay more than $6 billion in their utility bills to cover cleanup costs from Winter Storm Uri, with none designated for grid improvements. He added that changes proposed by regulators to revamp the electric market lack cost analysis and public input.

"And ultimately it comes down to the pocketbook," he said, "because, while we all want and support a reliable electricity grid, we want to make sure we're getting what we pay for, and we want to make sure that the public's voice is heard."

While improvements may be needed and beneficial, Morstad said the initial price tag at $1.7 billion a year to be built into customers' utility bills is alarming.

In Katy, Lora Taylor and her husband were prepared for rolling blackouts predicted by their utility company as they cared for their special-needs daughter, who suffers seizures and requires breathing and suction machines. Instead, they spent 52 hours without power, and had to recharge the machines from a car battery.

"The trauma of the middle of the night and trying to literally keep her alive - when all the hospitals were filled, all of the roads were icy - was just overwhelming," she said.

Worried about a repeat of last year's storm, the Taylor family purchased a whole-house generator. Taylor said Texans shouldn't have to wait 10 years to make sure safeguards are in place.

"It's just beyond me, that we can't hold people's feet to the fire so that they have to invest to protect consumers," she said. "Every other state handles cold weather. Why can't we?"

Morstad noted that older Texans and medically vulnerable people are particularly sensitive to power outages and utility price hikes, with many living on a fixed income.

"The rub," he said, "is that the proposals being pursued are very expensive, haven't been proven to solve the problem that has been identified, and the pocketbooks are already being strained."

Disclosure: AARP Texas contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…

Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …


The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …

Northern Plains Resource Council is holding presentations on soil health at farms and ranches across Montana. (Northern Plains Resource Council)


Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

The Supreme Court's ruling in the case Vega v. Tekoh may have weakened the court's position on Miranda rights, but does not entirely invalidate those rights for people who are arrested. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …

Social Issues

By Sarah Melotte for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection for the Public News Service/Daily Yonder Collabor…

Social Issues

The nation still is dissecting revealing testimony from this week's committee hearing on the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. A top White …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021