Hurricane Ida Brings America’s Weaknesses to Light

Hurricane Ida Brings America's Weaknesses to Light

( – Some people believe human beings are responsible for global climate changes. Others believe it’s a part of the planet’s cyclical nature, which has also seen ice ages. Either way, it’s hard to ignore the evidence of change. Storms like Hurricane Ida, which just pummeled New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, demonstrate the fragility of America’s energy systems in the face of Mother Nature.

Most people don’t think much about the electricity they use to recharge their cell phones, keep perishable foods fresh, and run the air conditioning to keep them cool in the summer heat — until they don’t have it. That’s the problem facing one million-plus customers in Louisiana plunged into darkness by Ida. Officials are saying it could be as long as three weeks before all areas have power restored. With temperatures expected to hover around 90°F during the first week in September, the combination could be life-threatening for the elderly and those with certain illnesses.

As recent events show, hurricanes are not the only threat to the country’s energy systems. Consider:

  • The cyberattack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline.
  • The February 2021 cold snap and winter storm that devastated the power grid in Texas.
  • Above-ground electric transmission lines sparked wildfires in the Western states.

A bipartisan $1-trillion infrastructure bill should address these issues. It passed through the Senate but has been subject to political wrangling in the House of Representatives. A deal made between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Democratic House Moderates will bring the bipartisan infrastructure deal to a vote by September 27. Even if the bill does pass, an article in the MIT Technology Review calls that effort a “baby step.” For now, it seems America will have to keep making repairs after the fact.

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