May 28, 2020

Local production of oil and gas has helped to secure California’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, powering essential services like healthcare, emergency response, food and water production and delivery, and communications infrastructure.

Despite radical activist calls to deny Californians access to our state’s abundant energy resources and instead import more of our needs from overseas, every level of government in California has declared all elements of the oil and natural gas supply chain as critical:

  • In March 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency declared 16 critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, essential. The order explicitly recognized “workers who support drilling operations” as well as “petroleum workers from petroleum product storage, pipeline, marine transport, terminals, rail transport, road transport to retail fuel centers such as gas stations and truck stops, and the distribution systems that support them” as essential.
  • The California Energy Commission stated that essential services to remain open during the COVID-19 response include all elements of the fuel supply chain.
  • Multiple county governments and municipalities across California recognized oil and gas workers as essential. For example, the City of Los Angeles’ Safer-at-Home Order declared, “Individuals may leave their residences to provide any services or goods or perform any work necessary to build, operate, maintain or manufacture essential infrastructure, including without limitation … oil extraction and refining.” Similarly, the City of Fresno declared that energy workers “may continue their work because of the importance of [the energy sector] to Californians’ health and well-being.”

Hospitals rely on natural gas for direct heating of facilities, critical hot water supplies, as well as much of their electricity. Lifesaving medicines, supplies and protective equipment are manufactured from petroleum and delivered on trucks that require diesel fuel. Electricity powered by natural gas also enables water agencies to pump clean water to households, hospitals, businesses, and municipal facilities.

Local production provides the reliable, affordable energy needed to keep Californians safe during good times and crises.