Wednesday, Alex Oehler, interim President and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association (INGAA) testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about the pipeline industry’s response to COVID-19 and its efforts to continue to meet our nation’s energy needs while protecting its workforce amid the ongoing public health crisis.
Over the past two and a half months, INGAA member companies have made significant changes to their facilities and operations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Through the implementation of additional procedures and safeguards, pipeline operators have worked diligently to protect their essential employees and ensure the continued operation, maintenance and construction of critical natural gas infrastructure. As Oehler emphasized in his testimony, heath and safety continues to be the industry’s top priority:
“Our industry is relentlessly committed to its obligation to operate safely, reliably, and responsibly, and this includes continuing to serve our communities throughout the COVID-19 emergency while also taking every step necessary to protect the health of our work force and those communities in which we operate.”
In addition to discussing response efforts, Oehler expressed INGAA’s support forS. 3728, the Critical Infrastructure Employee Protection Act of 2020. The bill will direct the continued coordination of federal, state and local agencies to ensure essential critical infrastructure workers continue to have access to personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID-19 testing and other necessary supplies.
Other witnesses at the hearing included representatives from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, American Trucking Associations, Association of American Railroads and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
“We should also be grateful to, and proud of, the men and women of the railroads and other transportation industries who are working tirelessly day-in and day-out behind the scenes to keep our supply chains functioning and to deliver critical products to our communities.”— Ian Jefferies, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Railroads
“Within weeks, companies were dedicating facilities and people to making ventilators and personal protective equipment for those on the battle’s front lines, as well as their own employees. They redeployed supply chains, leveraged purchasing networks and utilized their manufacturing prowess to make equipment at break-neck speed.” –- John Bozzella, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for Automotive Innovation
“Safely reopening our economy based on sound science and data will be the ultimate resolution to our economic challenges, and we support the meticulous efforts of public officials to get our nation back to work, balancing safety with the economic and social needs of modern life.” –-Randy Guillot, Chairman of the Board, American Trucking Associations
“The working people we represent move America. Our members run and build the transportation networks that bring people, goods, and critical supplies to every corner of our nation. It is our members in every segment of the aviation, transit, rail, longshore, and maritime sectors that make these industries function. They are essential by any definition of the word.”— Larry Willis, President, Transportation Trades Department, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
The interstate natural gas pipeline industry continues to demonstrate the reliability and resiliency of its essential workforce and infrastructure in the face of COVID-19. INGAA commends the industry’s ongoing efforts to protect its employees and communities. We support and encourage the continued collaboration between industry and state and federal agencies to ensure essential workers across the nation continue to receive the critical PPE and health-related supplies necessary to safely carry out their duties and meet our nation’s energy needs.