Sunday, March 24, 2013

Job killers: Operating Engineers union blocking fracking in Illinois

Illinois' unemployment rate is 9.5 percent--much higher than the national rate. And it seems that my union-beholden state doesn't want more jobs. North Dakota's once sleepy economy has been energized by the fracking boom--it has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

But Illinois just has to be different. The Democratic-controlled General Assembly has been working on an oil and gas fracking bill since last year--and passing the legislation seemed like a done deal. But last week Big Labor, as is its wont, stepped in to louse things up.

From the Chicago Tribune:
The bill, hashed out over 10 months, was scheduled to be heard in committee Thursday. The room was packed and an overflow crowd waited outside. But the House Revenue and Finance Committee postponed a vote on the fracking regulations after it became apparent that the bill, as written, would not win enough support in committee to advance to the full House.

Energy experts say new, more efficient drilling methods could unlock billions of dollars of oil and gas in Illinois during the next two decades. The Illinois Oil and Gas Association says about 500,000 acres, the equivalent of 3 1/2 Chicagos, have been leased to oil and gas companies that are poised to start drilling once the regulations are established.

The amendment requires well contractors to go through an extensive licensing process and was introduced by the bill's chief sponsor, Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, at the behest of the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting, which represents the powerful Operating Engineers Local 150 union.

It would give regulators three years to set up a lengthy licensing process that includes classes and an examination. In the meantime, a contractor with an Illinois water well license would be required on every fracking site. The provision would mean jobs for local union workers, said Marc Poulos, executive director of the foundation, and ensure that aquifers aren't harmed.
Big Labor is lying--it doesn't care about "the little guy." It only cares about itself. Only 6.6 percent of private sector workers belong to a union.

Meanwhile, the Great Recession continues to strangle the Land of Lincoln.

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1 comment:

  1. Two residents from McHenry County moved to North Dakota to get a job. One, a high school dropout is almost earning $100,000 a year working 90 hours a week as an oil driller.