From the Marcellus Drilling News, a pro-drilling publication in New York state:
From now on, Jefferson County, OH commissioners will force companies drilling Utica Shale wells in the county or companies building natural gas pipelines in the county that need to construct or repair public roadways, to use higher-priced laborers. Jefferson County commissioners are bowing to pressure from the Laborers International Union.
New road use agreements, which are required for constructing new wells and pipelines, must have a “prevailing wage requirement” according to the Jefferson County engineer, who says it’s a mandate from the state Attorney General’s office:
Jefferson County commissioners signed a road maintenance agreement with a company looking to build a large pipeline associated with the gas drilling industry across the county that requires contractors to pay prevailing wages to improve or repair county and township roads used in the construction process.
The commissioners have been lobbied by the Laborers International Union to include prevailing wage requirements in road use maintenance agreements.
County Engineer James Branagan said the Ohio attorney general has issued an opinion that states work done by private companies on public roads must contain the prevailing wage requirement. The Laborers have been complaining the companies have been using cheaper, out-of-county workers to perform the work on county and township roads, thereby taking away jobs for local laborers.
The commissioners contacted the county prosecutor’s office about including the prevailing wage requirement in the road use maintenance agreements. Branagan said the prevailing wage requirement will now be included in all road use maintenance agreements.
Enterprise Liquids Pipeline is beginning construction of the Appalachia to Texas liquid ethane pipeline. The pipeline will transport liquid ethane produced from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Pennsylvania and Ohio westward across Ohio to ethylene manufacturing plants in Texas and Louisiana.
The pipeline will begin in Washington County, Pa., and will cross under the Ohio River near Pottery Addition and continue west across Jefferson County.
Branagan said the road use maintenance agreement with Enterprise Liquids Pipeline includes the requirement for the company to upgrade county and township roads prior to construction or make repairs after the work is completed. The agreement also includes a $221,000 bond.*
MDN has no issue with a fair wage for hard work, but when you take away competition (allowing work to be done by people who are willing to do the work for less), everyone loses because prices go up, forcing everyone to pay more. It’s just bad policy.
*Wheeling (WV) The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Jan 7, 2013) – County Requires Prevailing Wages
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.