The country is facing a unique and mounting challenge. One that is requiring that we all chip in in our own ways. For many of us, doing our part is staying home, social distancing, washing our hands and looking out for those who might need assistance. It’s the very least we can do. Because while we hunker down (as we should), there are those right on the front line facing tremendous adversity.
Our healthcare and emergency response workers are tackling an incredibly difficult challenge head on and they deserve more thanks and appreciation than we can possibly give.
But beyond those fighting the virus in our hospitals and labs, there are countless others fighting the essential fight of keeping America running. Our farmers and grocery store workers – everyone involved in the food supply chain – that are making sure shelves are restocked and that we have the food we need when and where we need it all deserve our deep thanks too.
There are dozens and dozens of underappreciated jobs that must go on in these difficult times. From trash collectors to manufacturers cranking out medical supplies, to our very own coal miners producing the fuel to keep the lights on and homes warm, these are the folks doing the essential work to keep the country moving forward.
An Essential Industry
The coal industry is absolutely critical to securing a domestic, secure supply of affordable energy. The coal mining sector, as well as the power plants it supplies and the industries that move coal from mine to plant, such as our barges and railroads, need to be viewed together as critical infrastructure under Presidential Policy Directive 21 and the 2013 Department of Homeland Security National Infrastructure Protection Plan. It’s important that the government, at both the state and federal level, thoughtfully considers all the interconnected pieces of industry needed to make sure the coal sector can provide uninterrupted operations.
As global supply chains are disrupted, as countries close their borders and the shock of national quarantines buffets the global economy, American-mined coal is here at the ready. The industry remains steadfast. The fuel security provided by coal reserves at power plants offers resiliency to a system that is bracing for uncertainty. In a perilous time, the certainty and security provided by coal power is just what we need. Smart policy can ensure the industry can continue to provide a rock-solid foundation for the nation’s energy needs.
What You Can Do
Fighting the virus is a job every single one of us can do. There’s a good chance you are already doing your part. Washing your hands, social distancing (keeping at least six feet apart) and, if you do get sick, staying home are all critically important steps we can take to slow the spread of the virus.
If we can slow the spread, or flatten the curve of cases, we can help ensure that our doctors, nurses and other responders have the best chance to save lives and tend to the critically ill without being overwhelmed. Social distancing and washing your hands might sound inconsequential but they can save lives. For more about combating COVID-19 and playing your part, see the CDC’s website.
- On March 18, 2020