Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday evening said Texans who lost power for several days last week during a severe winter storm "deserve answers" and will "get those answers" soon.
The nonprofit Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) operates the state's electrical grid, and when almost half the power usually available to the grid went offline amid the storm, millions of homes and businesses found themselves in the dark. "The fact is, power generation from all sources buckled under the harsh, freezing winter weather," Abbott said. "That includes natural gas, coal, nuclear, as well as wind and solar." Last week, Abbott said there were just wind and solar failures, but then walked back his comments.
Abbott is putting the blame for the power outages squarely on ERCOT, saying the agency falsely claimed the grid was prepared for the winter. Abbott wants state lawmakers to reform ERCOT and complete the winterization of the power system during this legislative session, and said it "will not end until we fix these problems." The Texas Tribunereports that energy experts say it will be expensive and difficult to retrofit plants in Texas to handle the cold. Abbott has said the state should fund winterizaton efforts, but it's not clear how much that would cost. Catherine Garcia
Days after two of his former allies were found guilty on all counts in the Bridgegate trial, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) insisted the case over the George Washington Bridge lane closures wouldn't put a damper on his political future. "I can't tell you how many times my political career was over. Here I am," Christie said told CBS This Morning in his first interview since the jury passed down the guilty verdict Friday to Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The 2013 closure of bridge-access lanes in Fort Lee, New Jersey, has been interpreted as an act of political retaliation after the city's Democratic mayor refused to endorse Christie in the governor's re-election race that year.
Though the case didn't consider the question of Christie's involvement, Christie insisted in the interview that the trial had "confirmed" what he thought all along: "There were three people responsible: David Wildstein, Bill Baroni, and Bridget Kelly," Christie said, naming the two who were charged Friday and former Port Authority official Wildstein, who admitted to masterminding the plot.
As for those conversations Christie allegedly had indicating that he not only knew about the lane closures, but also that he chuckled about the Fort Lee mayor's phone calls going unanswered, Christie claimed he didn't remember any of that happening. "I have absolutely no recollection of any of them saying anything like that," Christie said. He also insisted if someone had told him they were jamming the George Washington Bridge to punish the Fort Lee mayor for his non-endorsement, he "would have remembered that."
Watch the entirety of Christie's interview below. Becca Stanek