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Government and Politics

Kasich blasts out of state workers with oil and gas drillers
He says he's concerned that Ohioans jobs will be compromised because of out-of-state workers

Karen Kasler
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In The Region:

The oil and gas boom has brought in lots of activity to eastern Ohio – and perhaps lots of  out-of-state workers. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports says that’s a problem for the governor.

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Gov. John Kasich has joked several times about the people he wants to see working with the oil and gas industry in Ohio – including in his State of the State speech in February.

“…and with the energy companies I told them, we don’t want foreigners working on our well heads, those are people from West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan and Oklahoma, okay? We want Ohioans on the well head.”

But Kasich now says he’s concerned that out of state employees are being brought in to work with the drillers. 

“So you could have the situation where we are not getting the jobs, they are taking the resources and all of their profits and they are heading home. That is not acceptable to me. Now we don’t have the conclusive evidence that this is happening yet but I want you to know and I want all of the companies to know that this is an extremely serious matter and we expect them to be responsive to the people of this state.”

Tom Stewart is the executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. He says the oil and gas companies have invested over $3 billion in Ohio, and because they’re moving quickly, they need to bring in workers who can handle the jobs right away.

“You’re talking about an industry that is reaching the pinnacle of technological advances in oil and gas. It’s equivalent to drilling oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico. You just don’t hire people who’ve had two weeks of training and put them on this rig. You hire people who are equipped and ready to do this kind of job and you get them from where they can be supplied to.”

And Stewart says Ohioans are building hotels, restaurants and other businesses to serve the workers with the oil and gas drillers – so those companies are stimulating the state’s economy.

“The economic multiplier is creating jobs far, far beyond what we’re registering just today. We need to encourage people. We need to quit talking about investigating that.”

Kasich has proposed an increase in the severance tax that oil and gas drillers would pay, which the industry has strongly opposed.

Listener Comments:

Governor Kasich, I respectfully ask that you think before you act on opportunities to frack our beautiful state of Ohio. In your comments, you have stated that you planned to have Ohio workers doing the work at wellheads, but have not identified Ohio workers that are trained to work at the new well heads once they have been leased. Didn't you realize that the oil and gas companies would be bringing in their own workers to our counties and leaving when the work was done. What were you thinking? Now we are taking the waste water from the fracking operations in other states and injecting the poisonous chemicals and water into our state's abandoned wells with the extreme likelihood of contamination to our water, our air and our land. Why? Why don't we say "No" to the oil and gas companies and maintain a clean, safe environment for our future?

Posted by: Teresa M. Scarmack (Logan, Ohio) on December 9, 2012 1:12AM
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