Houston Democrat chastised for mentioning climate change at Texas power grid hearing

State Sen. John Whitmire barely got the word “climate change” out of his mouth before the Republican chairman of the committee looking into last week’s electricity grid failures interrupted him.

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, a North Texas Republican, told Whitmire, a Houston Democrat, he wanted the committee to focus on what happened last week and not get into a discussion about things like climate change.

“This is a discussion where we can chase a lot of rabbits. We can go in a lot of different directions,” Hancock said.

Hancock said he wanted to focus on what was predicted and whether we should have known what was coming “rather than get off into a climate change discussion at this point.”

Whitmire set Hancock off after he asked a meteorologist that had been called to testify if the state should expect more frigid weeks like it last week because of the impact of climate change.

The exchange came during the first hearings in the Texas Senate on the deadly storms from last week that left millions of Texans without power and running water. Lawmakers say they are determined to get to the bottom of why the state wasn’t better prepared.