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Preventing Natural Gas Waste Good for Wyoming Workers

Plugging natural gas leaks from pipelines and well sites is creating jobs and reducing climate pollution. (Pixabay)
Plugging natural gas leaks from pipelines and well sites is creating jobs and reducing climate pollution. (Pixabay)
April 17, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A new report shows a booming business in stopping leaks in natural gas pipelines across the country.

While cleaner air is good news for the environment, it might be just as big a boon to the job market, as these companies are hiring workers to perform methane mitigation.

The report by Datu Research shows at least 60 mitigation companies working in 45 states.

Marcy Lowe, the research company's CEO, explains why it's important to stop these leaks.

"Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas,” she points out. “Actually, in the short term, it's much more powerful than carbon dioxide. So, it's very, very important to try to keep it out of the atmosphere."

Critics of methane recapture maintain this type of service comes with too high a price tag for natural gas suppliers.

But Lowe points out that the savings from preventing the loss of product into the atmosphere nearly always outweighs the cost of stopping the leaks.

According to the report, unmitigated leaks cost an estimated $1.3 billion in lost natural gas each year, and that translates to more job opportunities.

Especially in states with methane regulations, Lowe says the mitigation industry has experienced up to 30 percent employment growth, across a wide field of demographics.

"We found that they were offering a range of jobs with different experience needed, starting with just out of high school to highly skilled engineers and Ph.D.s," she points out.

The report says the majority of methane mitigation firms are small businesses founded in the past six years that have high upward mobility and salaries ranging from $27,000 to more than $100,000 per year.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY