Marshall County Gas Plant: Venting West Virginia Jobs?
Contractors and Workers Concerned Over Out-of-State Contract
CHARLESTON, W.VA. – A half-billion-dollar general contract to build a plant in northern West Virginia’s Panhandle region, which will take the liquids out of natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation deep underground, has been granted to a Texas company. That has some local contractors and construction workers worried that the project will be done with out-of-state labor.
Tom Cerra, co-chairman of Project BEST, representing contractors and construction workers in the upper Ohio Valley, says utilities company Dominion Resources gave the contract for the Marshall County plant to CB&I, a Houston firm that refuses to commit to hiring West Virginians.
“What we would like to see is not to have employees being from Texas and Oklahoma, and taking the jobs of West Virginians that are well trained and qualified to do the work.”
Cerra says the state’s contractors and construction workers are some of the best trained and most capable in the country. He says that was proven at a recent Marshall County school-building project.
“Our contractors can build anything. Our local contractors employing local building trades craftsmen and apprentices, saved the state over a million dollars. And the project came in three hundred days ahead of schedule.”
He says there are people here waiting for the work.
“It’s West Virginia. You know, we should try to keep as many things local as we possibly can. Obviously, everybody knows the economy hasn’t been the greatest. And that’s why there’s so many construction workers available to do this work.”
Construction employment for the project should peak at around 600 jobs.
Liquids such as ethane have to be removed from the gas before it can be sold, and they’re valuable as feedstocks for the chemical industry.
CB&I did not return several calls. Dominion refused to comment.