Just as the UWUA has fought for safe, clean gas infrastructure in California through support of SB 887 and SB 1371, this fall the UWUA, working with labor and environmental partners at the BlueGreen Alliance (BGA), took part in the release of a new report in Ohio and Pennsylvania showing that 50,000 jobs would be created over the next decade by investing in the reduction of methane emissions in oil and gas infrastructure.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently finalized standards to reduce methane from new and modified sources. The BGA jobs report answers the question of how many jobs will be created to meet these new standards.
The BGA report, entitled “Plugging the Leaks: Protecting Workers, Reducing Pollution, and Creating Quality Jobs by Reducing Methane Waste in the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry,” estimates that nearly 5,400 direct and indirect jobs will be created every year in a variety of sectors — including manufacturing — and that with full and continuing adoption of leak reducing technologies and practices, fully 50,000 jobs could be created over the first decade of full implementation of these methane standards.
…the median hourly wage for workers in the methane mitigation industry is $30.88, compared to $19.60 for all U.S. jobs, ensuring these mitigation jobs will be high quality.
Importantly, the median hourly wage for workers in the methane mitigation industry is $30.88, compared to $19.60 for all U.S. jobs, ensuring these mitigation jobs will be high quality. In 2014, Ohio’s natural gas producers reported a loss of more than 13,000 metric tons of methane to leaks. As this is enough natural gas to heat nearly 8,500 Ohio homes, this also demonstrates the revenue savings of capturing a resource that would otherwise be lost, further protecting jobs in the industry. In Pennsylvania, the case was even stronger, with oil and gas producers reporting a loss of nearly 100,000 metric tons of methane — enough to heat 65,000 homes!
In addition, reducing these emissions has the added benefit of protecting workers and nearby communities. When methane leaks, workers in the industry can be exposed to air pollutants like benzene, a known carcinogen. Thus, reducing methane emissions will create quality new jobs to implement the reductions, capture lost revenue to safeguard existing jobs in the energy industry, and protect the health of nearby workers and communities.
Methane emission reduction holds benefits for workers, their employers, and communities in states around the country.
Advocating for the capture of a clean energy resource — and the revenue that goes along with it — that would otherwise be lost is yet another way in which UWUA members are on the front lines of the clean energy revolution. Methane emission reduction holds benefits for workers, their employers, and communities in states around the country.