I was disappointed to see all the letters about the natural gas industry in this newspaper neglect one important point – the natural gas industry is employing thousands of residents across Pennsylvania and it’s here to stay.
The Associated Press reported that in 2012 natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale increased 72 percent over what it was in 2011. Washington and Greene counties are major production centers. No one in Washington County thinks the gas industry is going anywhere. The gas reserves in our part of the country are too important to the nation’s overall energy independence to ignore. Someone will develop them, and if local residents don’t benefit from the resources in our backyards, then someone else will.
I am a proud member of Laborers� International Union of North America, Local No. 1058, and I hold one of the hundreds of jobs created by Range Resources in Washington County. I also live here. My neighbors and I are thankful to have these jobs, which offer us an opportunity to earn a family-sustaining wage and benefits.
Too few workers are speaking up in this debate. I get up every morning knowing that my neighbors are counting on me to do my job well in order to safeguard our community, and I take that responsibility seriously. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that unemployment in Washington County is 6.8 percent, while the statewide rate is 7.4 percent and the national unemployment rate is 7.8 percent. That’s because of the natural gas industry.
Shale industry here to stay