By Michael Copp, Executive Vice President
As noted in a recent article in NEFI’s Oil and Energy Magazine, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a high number of Atlantic hurricanes in 2021 with 13-20 named storms and 3-5 major category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher. (Retrieved from the World Wide Web on July 8, 2021, at https://oilandenergyonline.com/articles/all/noaa-predicts-active-atlantic-hurricane-season/) The hurricane season typically runs from June 1st to November 30th each year and can be devastating, causing loss of power, infrastructure damage, flooding, and worse as we saw in record numbers in 2020. Hurricanes Laura and Delta cost $21 billion dollars combined. (Retrieved from the World Wide Web on July 8, 2021, at https://coast.noaa.gov/states/fast-facts/hurricane-costs.html). Wildfires, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and other natural weather disasters have our members working hard to provide repair and replacement services with a limited workforce due to the recent pandemic amongst a variety of reasons.
In a recent article by Chris Sweeney (2021), Renee Salas, a Yerby Fellow at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health observed that “If we look at the recent Texas storm [in February impacting 4.4 million people]… it’s really the cascade of failures that’s occurring that poses the larger burden… [for example] contaminated water and water shortages can lead to waterborne diseases or ingestion of other environmental toxins.” (Retrieved from the World Wide Web on July 8, 2021, at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/texas-storm-offers-glimpse-of-how-climate-change-threatens-public-health/). Mark Valentini, Director of Legislative Affairs at PHCC, reports that PHCC members agree that “the destruction caused by natural disasters underscores the importance of rebuilding America’s infrastructure through robust funding for improving water systems and storage, an energy component that preserves consumer choice while reducing stress on the grid, and a workforce education component to ensure we have sufficient and sufficiently educated workers to tackle this ambitious undertaking.”