The world is changing daily as we respond to the threat of COVID-19. The need to “flatten the curve” has meant tough decisions about letting certain businesses stay open while requesting or even requiring that others close down. But as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) made clear in his recent mandate, there are several “life-sustaining” industries that are still hard at work to provide the energy, care and supplies Americans need to make it through these trying times – including the oil and natural gas industry.
Gov. Wolf had issued guidance for “non-essential” businesses to close. But this week he upgraded that to a mandate that all “non-life-sustaining” businesses will need to close their offices for the time being. The list of businesses that may continue operating includes health care providers, grocery stores and the trucking industry. A great debt of gratitude needs to be given to these individuals that are working overtime to keep the country fed and healthy – even as they face the risks and anxiety that the rest of us are staying home to avoid.
Also included on the governor’s list is oil and natural gas extraction, pipelines, utilities and manufacturing. Gov. Wolf’s mandate is a stark reminder of how important American oil and natural gas truly are to our well-being and livelihoods.
Thanks to an abundance of U.S. natural gas, many Americans working from home continue to have a reliable, affordable supply of energy and heat, predominantly from the Appalachian Basin where Pennsylvania is located.
U.S. oil, driven by production in the Permian Basin, is helping refineries produce the fuel needed to power the trucks that are traversing the country right now to keep grocery store shelves stocked with essentials – food and paper products and everything in between.
The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is also providing the feedstock necessary for manufacturers to develop important plastics that will be used to create life-sustaining materials, from the casings for vaccines to masks, gloves and ventilators. Not to mention the energy that is enabling scientists to work around the clock to develop vaccines and testing kits.
Energy is such an important and intrinsic part of our daily lives, and one we often take for granted. Nonetheless, America’s energy workers – regardless of whether it’s conventional or renewable – continue to work every day, often in the background, to ensure our country has the energy and supplies it needs to function smoothly.
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