American Consequences - March 2021

And he’s right, on two counts. No one wants to be Governor Cuomo right now, and America will generally forgive politicians or corporate entities if they own up to their disastrous mishandlings.

winterization, he immediately has an answer: Texas’ “rainy-day fund.” Or in this case, a snowy day. He’s referring to his state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (“ESF”), and Texas has the nation’s largest ESF at $10 billion (indeed, everything is bigger there ) . Cactus details that a boom oil year means more capital funneled into the ESF and that the state government could dip into those funds to prep power plants for the next winter. When I asked him about Texas ever joining the national power grid, I already knew his answer. “We are very proud of that, we’re very used to it, and we’ve got an ego. We want to keep our power, our grid. We screwed up this time. I don’t think we’ll screw up again. Things will change.” When I inquire about Cruz’s disappearing act, he just quips, “I would never take my kids to no Mexico.” Taken in full, he finds less fault in Texas’ energy infrastructure and more in the human element of those behind the curtain politically. Egregious mistakes made and dozens of lives lost. “Abbott and PUC should’ve been right on top of this as well as ERCOT. And they did a terrible job. And I think Abbott put it in what he thought were capable hands, and they weren’t. I think somebody like Abbott who steps up there and says, ‘Hey. You know, I’m at the top. This is my fault. The buck stops here.’ That would work. But when you start trying to duck and dodge like Cuomo, it makes it worse.”


What will Texas look like in 2050? How many winter storms will pulverize the expansive plains from the Panhandle to Brownsville? Will the PUC and ERCOT even exist then? How much will green energy fuel the state that could easily be Red, Blue, or Purple in coming decades? What happens when there are just a few drops of oil left? But when it comes to his industry or state’s future, Cactus isn’t worried (at all). “Oil will be here for the next couple of generations. I mean, you’re not just talking about transportation. There are so many things oil makes other than fuel. Paint, chemicals, medicine, plastics, fertilizer – I mean, you go down the list – dozens of products people use every day. So fuel usage, will it go down? Yes. But not drastically. “Houston is still the oil capital of the world. When people come in from the North Sea, the Middle East, or Jakarta – they get into Houston. They go into the city that has the whole package and learn an awful lot. And I think the Saudis indirectly own some of Texas’ refineries.” I asked him to pitch me Texas. He laughs, asking if I want him to brag. “It just has such a diverse feel, no matter what

American Consequences


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