The economic impact of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania is making its way into the governor’s race. But translating the drilling boom into Pennsylvania jobs may be harder than it seems.
Both Democrat Dan Onorato and Republican Tom Corbett say they want more Pennsylvanians employed at natural gas drilling sites. Both candidates promise to commit to training Commonwealth residents to do the complicated jobs, but Onoroto says he’d go a step further.
“The one piece of leverage the Governor has is, over the industry, is the permits for drilling,” Onorato says. “The industry wants to be able to drill. I’m prepared to give them permits to drill, but I want one thing in return. The 80 thousand jobs that the study from Penn State predicted – they have to hire Pennsylvanians.”
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Scott Hanger says it’s more than reasonable for Pennsylvania to turn up the heat on getting Pennsylvanians hired, but he points out the DEP cannot reject permits due to who the companies bring on board.
Hanger says he worries a law mandating drillers hire Pennsylvanians could run afoul of the state’s commerce laws.