Updated 04/11/2012 09:45 PM
Career expo highlights natural gas jobs
While there is still a moratorium on hydrofracking, employers involved with the gas industry are already scouting potential talent in the Southern Tier. YNN's Chris Whalen tells us about some of the opportunities that could arise if fracking takes effect in the Empire State.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- It's been the center of debate in New York for the past few years, but Wednesday, hydrofracking was the center of a forum on jobs at Broome Community College. It's an industry proponents say is growing rapidly across the country.
"Natural gas companies directly employed roughly 622,000 Americans in 2008 and indirectly sustained almost 2.2 million jobs the same year," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.
And some of those employers were on hand at BCC discussing what their companies could bring to the area.
"Lots of new opportunities for all kinds of folks, everything from flagging, to bedding the pipe, jeeping the pipe. If the moratorium ceases, we won't have enough people probably," said Chris Bushnell of the Laborers Local 785.
Working in the natural gas industry isn't just on a well or a pipeline. Those things certainly are a part of it, but there are also hundreds of other jobs many people don't even know about within the industry and that's something else the career expo hopes to showcase. They include everything from labor to engineering to IT. One company on hand even addresses the question of what to do with the byproduct of fracking.
"We extract sodium chloride, very high purity, that's used for things like pool salt and water softening salt," said Jay Smith, president of Salt Water Solutions.
Many of the businesses say they're thriving in Pennsylvania where fracking is already permitted and awaiting new opportunities they say are inevitable if the Empire State allows fracking too.
"If it did come to New York, or the Southern Tier, we're hoping that we could at least double in size, so it would be a significant impact for our company for sure," said Garrett Guiles, owner of Crosshair Consultants.
But it's a waiting game these companies will continue to play, as there is no time table for when an environmental impact statement will be finished, and therefore the moratorium lifted.