Business week in review: 08/31/14

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Drilling’s impact on the airport

Consol Energy gathered a host of luminaries at Pittsburgh International Airport to officially kick off Marcellus Shale drilling there. The Cecil company expects the airport project will bring more than $1 billion to the region, including a $50 million bonus payment paid to the Allegheny County Airport Authority last year and 18 percent royalties to the authority over the next two decades.

Drilling’s impact on water

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has posted documents revealing official determinations that oil and gas operations have damaged water supplies since late 2008. The determination letters show 248 incidents where drilling has contaminated water supplies, a number higher than the 209 first tallied by the DEP. The highest number of confirmed incidents occurred in 2010 and have declined steadily since to 11 incidents so far this year, according to the DEP.

Drilling’s impact on jobs

Energy jobs were on the agenda Monday when Gov. Tom Corbett and T. Boone Pickens, chairman of B.P. Capital Management, met at a jobs conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The pair agreed many of the jobs related to gas production are not drilling or building pipelines, but in a host of related field such as law, accounting, engineering and even barbecuing for displaced Texans. That’s good because the energy sector employed the fewest number of people in the state with 38,100 jobs in July. The next smallest sector is the information sector, which has 84,100 workers.

Fewer employees

Pittsburgh metropolitan unemployment held steady in July at 5.3 percent, although 3,900 dropped out of the labor force.

Are they employees?

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Portland, Ore., concluded that drivers for Moon-based FedEx Ground in California and Oregon were misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees. FedEx said it will challenge the decision.

Quote of the week

“This is not a Pittsburgh-centric issue. [Ride-sharing companies are] coming to State College. They’re coming to my area of West Chester, Pa.”

— PUC chairman Robert Powelson at a hearing of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s full five-member board.


Brian Hyslop: bhyslop@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1936.

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