An article in today’s West Virginia paper The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register attempts to denigrate Marcellus gas drilling in the state by focusing on some of the problems. One of those problems, according to the article, is that 13 illegal aliens (undocumented workers) that have been caught working for drilling contractors in the state “in the last few years.” But 13 illegals apprehended out of some 10,000 workers employed by the Marcellus gas drilling industry in the state is an infinitesimally small 1/10th of one percent. That is, it’s a non-story. If the statistics are to be believed that there are some 20 million illegals in the U.S., and the population of our country is around 300 million, that means an average 6 1/2 percent of the entire population are illegal aliens! Point is: the drilling industry does not seek to employ illegals—it happens, like any industry.
But there is news of interest in the article, including the fact there are some 10,000 people in WV now employed by gas drilling. Also of interest: the state’s labor unions are trying to get a foothold in the drilling industry by pushing the state Legislature to force drilling companies to hire more WV residents (presumably labor union members).
Finally, we get this bit of insight into where the most gas drilling activity is happening in WV right now:
Wetzel County is “Ground Zero” when it comes to studying the effects of the Marcellus Rush on West Virginia. Indeed, drilling site maps provided by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection show both Wetzel and Marshall counties stamped with multiple gas wells, with more on the way to Ohio and Brooke counties.*
*The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register (Feb 8, 2011) – Sheriff: Alien Labor Used