Thousands of natural gas workers rally in Harrisburg
HARRISBURG — More than 2,500 natural gas workers and supporters joined what police called the largest gathering on the Capitol steps in years to rally for their industry.
“We must prevent the misguided and ill-informed from hurting this opportunity,” Rettew Associates CEO Hank Rettew told the crowd at the industry's Pennsylvania Jobs Pennsylvania Energy Rally.
The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the booming gas industry's largest lobbyist group, organized the rally to “show this state that there's diverse support,” said its chairman, Scott Roy, an official at Range Resources.
“It's intended to be the start of a strong drumbeat,” he said.
The industry is fighting a push by some lawmakers and the Democratic candidates in this year's governor's race to raise taxes on the state's growing number of wells in the Marcellus shale and other formations.
“They should be taxed,” said Bob Wise, president of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club north chapter, one of a few dozen people who protested the rally.
Protesters said drilling is harming the environment. Rally participants loudly denied that.
Organizers provided a heavy security presence to join police. They saw no clashes between the groups, said Joe Jacobs, superintendent of Capitol Police.
He estimated the crowd eclipsed 2,500 people, “one of the largest we've seen in a few years.”
The crowd was dominated by workers and families bused in by unions, energy companies and the coalition. A spokesman said he could not estimate how much the groups spent on the rally.
Speakers focused on jobs they say drilling has added.
“The unemployment rate in my local went from 10 percent to no percent,” said Jim Kunz, business manager for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66.
Drilling and related sectors are providing well-paid jobs to people who couldn't find them a few years ago, union leaders said.
“The pipelines have been a lifeline for us,” said Dennis Martire, a vice president for Laborers International Union of North America. “It's all about the jobs.”
David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pens get physical, trade Goc for Blues’ Lapierre
- Pirates trade Snider to Orioles for minor league pitcher
- No cross-checking here: Penguins misspell ‘Sidney’
- Now a Patriot, RB Blount’s thrilled to have moved on from Steelers
- Letang produces 5 assists in return as Penguins defeat Jets, 5-3
- Winfield man is one of a few to attend all 49 Super Bowl games
- Ex-Steelers QB Batch creates sports medicine startup at Pitt
- Supporters optimistic about passage of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania
- Panthers drop heartbreaker in overtime to Virginia Tech
- New Derry woman charged after mail delivery of 4 pounds of marijuana
- Cal U professor who died in campus office was lawyer, civil rights leader