President Joe Biden has officially declared Texas a major disaster area as the state continues to struggle with widespread power outages and water shortages in freezing winter conditions.
Biden’s approval will unlock federal funds for those that need grants for temporary housing and home repairs. Texans in need can also get low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.
Millions of Texas residents grappled with power outages. Over half the state is experiencing disrupted water service, including a boil-water notice to more than 14 million as of Friday.
According to CNBC News, part of the Lone Star State’s water supply could be contaminated.
Biden’s declaration will also provide funding for cost-sharing with state and local governments as well as some private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures. Many counties will have access to the relief.
Among those approved for the federal government, emergency declarations are Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Last week, Texas received generators, blankets, water, and meals.
Biden has plans to visit Texas to access the federal response sometime next week. His administration is working closely with the state Gov. Greg Abbott on the disaster response.
Texas’ Electric Reliability Council said that it returned to normal conditions on Friday, restoring power for millions of its customers.
However, data pulled from Poweroutage.us around 10:30 am (ET) Saturday morning, more than 78,000 Texans remain without power.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency fuel waiver for the state of Texas on Friday. It will immediately permit the state to temporarily forgo certain fuel standards to help gas shortages in impacted areas.
Texas refiners have paused close to a fifth of the country’s oil production amid the historic winter storm.