The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy & the States

Energy and Freedom on Historic Route 66

It’s a day and a half into an old-fashioned driving vacation on historic Route 66. Oklahoma is just over the next hill, about a third of the way along the highway’s 2,400 miles. The road ahead is clear, the Ford Mustang is humming – and with Tom Petty wailing “Free Fallin’” over the car’s sound system – it’s a little like a scene from “Jerry Maguire.” Freedom on the open road.

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Energy and Our Daily Bread

On a clear June morning in Kansas, a farmer inspects his hard red winter wheat crop and notes that it has turned from green to a shade of gold. He takes a bite out of a kernel to test for hardness, and then he knows his crop is ready to harvest and turn into flour at the nearby mill. He climbs into his combine and works quickly to cut the stock and separate and crush the grain before the next rain comes.

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ENERGY AND MAKING THE BIG CATCH

Mounted on the conference room wall of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Washington, D.C., office is the one that didn’t get away – “Walter,” a 63-pound King salmon that the senator fished out of the Kenai River in her home state a few years ago. In a video tour of her office, Murkowski says just about everyone who comes to visit her in D.C. wants their photo snapped with “Walter” in the background.

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ENERGY IS BALLOONING TO A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW

The basket slowly rises, and you flash back to that runaway balloon that nearly spoiled your fifth birthday – except that the balloon above your head right now is about seven stories high, a big bag of hot air bringing flight to the wicker-basket gondola that’s your vehicle to a world between heaven and earth.

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ENERGY AND FULL ENJOYMENT OF A WILD WHITEWATER RIDE

A spray of water swats you in the face as your raft rushes down into boiling river rapids. You grab a nylon perimeter line to secure yourself, but the raft surges up, and you go tumbling out and into the cold Colorado. Bobbing up, you smile – your life preserver keeping you afloat until the guide can haul you back into the raft to continue your summer whitewater trip through Utah’s scenic landscapes.

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ENERGY AND AMERICA’S NATIONAL SPIRIT

Before folks in the Bluegrass State and parts beyond can begin sipping Kentucky bourbon – after work, after dinner, on Derby Day at Churchill Downs in the spring, or gathered around a winter’s fire – there’s a detailed, time-honored process in producing the amber-hued drink that has been the United States’ national spirit since 1964.

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ENERGY AND ROUGHING IT AT SUMMER CAMP

Before heading off to the wilds of West Virginia to offload your youngster for a few weeks at summer camp, you glance once more at The Checklist. No odyssey to summer camp launches without The Checklist.

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Energy and Good Eating on the Bayou

On a warm summer afternoon in Louisiana, a chef pours Cajun seasoning into a boiling pot to season the crawfish inside. The sharp aroma of cayenne pepper, garlic and other spices wafts from the steaming pot. Natural gas flames heating the kettle is a tradition in this part of the country: Families and friends, sitting elbow to elbow, cracking shells, sucking the juices from crawfish heads and relishing each tender, meaty bite from the tail.

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Energy – Music To Your Ears

When country music superstar Brad Paisley steps out onto “The Circle” at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, it’s pure Tennessee – Paisley adding to the state’s storied country music legacy as he strums the strings of a Gibson J-45, an instrument produced by the Nashville-based Gibson Guitar Corporation. Also playing an accompanying role: energy.

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Energy and Summertime Peaches

Lee Dickey knows peaches. His family-owned Dickey Farms is the oldest continuously operating peach packinghouse in Georgia, a state synonymous with the fleshy fruit. Dickey knows soil and farming techniques. He knows heavy equipment and fertilizers. And he knows that energy is his essential partner in modern, efficient peach growing.

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Hoops – Faster, Higher, Better Because of Energy

With the NBA Finals scheduled to begin this week, here’s an idea worth pondering: Pro basketball – and any other level of basketball, for that matter – has been made infinitely better thanks to contributions from a pair of overlooked players: natural gas and oil. Seriously.

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Energy Boosts Our National Pastime

Because of materials derived from petroleum, we may take for granted the snap-crack of a bat solidly squaring up a ball – and the resulting long, soaring arc of that ball, possibly headed “downtown” beyond the outfield fence. A century ago, the game was shorter and more tactical – a concession to the less-than-lively baseball of the “dead ball” era (1900-1919). It’s not modern Major League Baseball without a modern major league baseball, made so with the help of petroleum-based components.

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High-Speed Works of Art, and Energy

Many consider Indy cars to be high-speed works of art. With the carbon fibers and Kevlar, a polymer derived from petroleum, that go into a racing chassis like the Dallara model Rossi won in last year, you could say it’s art made possible with petroleum.

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ENERGY, MAKING VACATION DREAMS COME TRUE

Florida’s role as the nation’s leading theme-park destination has reached prominence in the 45 years since Disney World opened in Orlando. Behind the fairy dust, a lot of energy is making Disney dreams come true.

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Next: Arizona

Read about energy in the state of Arizona on Monday.