by Bruce Walker
A new study by the American Petroleum Institute (API) credits Minnesota’s strong economy and job creation, in part, to the abundance of affordable fuels wrought by the country’s shale boom recognized through hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking.
“Low-cost energy helps to keep our facilities operating so that families here can continue to earn a decent living,” state Sen. Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing, said in the report. Red Wing is located in the state’s 2nd Senate District, which the API report claims recognizes a $5.1 billion boost annually due to the petrochemical, gasoline and oil industry.
Additionally, according to API, the industry supports more than 117,000 jobs statewide, which represented 3 percent of the Minnesota’s entire workforce in 2015. Those jobs paid employees in excess of $7 billion in annual wages while contributing more than $14 billion to the Minnesota economy, of which $4.5 billion directly benefited the 2nd Congressional District.
“The commercial and residential segments of the pipefitting industry were hit hard during the recession, and we didn’t have a lot of other options,” David Ybarra, president of the 9,000-member Minnesota Pipe Trades Association, said in the API report. “The shale boom sustained us, drew more people to pipefitting, and led to jobs at nearby refineries and natural gas plants that are just as important to trade workers today.”
All told, the industry directly supports 28,730 jobs in the 2nd District, representing 7.5 percent of the district’s total employment. API also noted that the industry contributes more than $5 billion, or approximately 13 percent, of the district’s total economy while adding more than $2 billion in wages, salaries, and benefits for the district’s workforce
According to Ybarra, first-year apprentices earn about $40 per hour in wages and benefits.
“Natural gas resources, fuel and oil will continue to be in high demand for decades to come,” he said. “Our own training facility demonstrates our long-term commitment to training people to ensure we continue to meet the needs of America’s natural gas and oil industry.”
“From decreased energy costs for families to increased investments in school systems and infrastructure, Americans benefit from the economic growth driven by the U.S. natural gas and oil industry,” API President and CEO Mike Sommers said.
“Surprisingly, there are those who respond to this progress with opposition and pushback,” Sommers said. “They suggest that we retreat – by banning hydraulic fracturing, the technology most responsible for U.S. energy leadership and emissions reductions and by promoting policies that would cost our communities jobs and impact our national security.”
API also reported that Minnesota was able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power generation by 25 percent over the past decade.
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Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.
Photo “Minnesota Elevated Pipeline” by Tony Webster CC2.0.