Could Fracking Put North Carolina Unemployed Back to Work and Get Them Out of Debt? Skip to main content

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Could Fracking Put North Carolina Unemployed Back to Work and Get Them Out of Debt?


Natural gas worker

Could natural gas jobs come to North Carolina soon?

Fracking has been an environmental hot button for both sides of the debate, but no matter what you think, Governor McCrory has signed a law clearing the way for it to happen in North Carolina. Now that it's a done deal, what we're wondering is how this can help our state's unemployed get back to work. Energy jobs are typically high paying, offer good benefits and provide job security. Today we take a look at what opportunities this might create, what areas of our state may benefit and how you can take advantage if you need gainful employment to help you deal with your debts. Bear in mind - we are not endorsing this controversial endeavor one way or another, but are simply examining the potential impact it could have on unemployment.

Where could mining opportunities be created?

There are two potential areas of natural gas shale deposits in the state. The Triassic rift basins are ripe for fracking opportunities (click here to see a map) and include parts of Wake, Chatham, Lee, Orange, Durham, Moore, Montgomery, Richmond, Anson, Davie, Yadkin and Granville and in the Northeast of the state, Stokes and Rockingham. But for the more developed and populated areas, these are not viable for mining. However, that is not where the state will be testing. Instead, they are investigating the second area - a region known as the Precambrian Rift basin which is in the mountain counties of Clay, Cherokee, Macon, Graham, Swain, Jackson and Haywood.

How long would these opportunities last?

According to the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation (that is opposed to the legislation), the two shale basins in North Carolina would likely be able to produce enough natural gas to power our state for 40 years. While we appreciate they have concerns (as do most North Carolinians), many unemployed people would be understandably glad to have a job with four decades of employment security.

When will the job opportunities begin?

NC Department of Environmental and Natural Resources will send its geologists out this summer/fall to collect rock samples to see if there is a potential for oil or natural gas mining or extraction and has committed half a million dollars to the investigation. The results will go to the state General Assembly in 2015 for further discussion. This means – if there is natural gas and if McCrory presses forward, job opportunities likely wouldn't begin until 2016 at the soonest.

How much do natural gas energy jobs pay?

Governor McCrory sees this as an opportunity to create jobs, but just how much do these jobs pay and how many could be created? According to America's Natural Gas Alliance, shale gas production will grow nearly 20% between 2015 and 2035 and will create more than one million jobs in the US for those ranging from high school graduates, those with advanced science degrees and a whole spectrum between.

Starting pay ranges from roughly $13 an hour to much, much more, with opportunities for overtime and significant rate increases for longevity and promotion. With so many in our state out of work for so long, particularly in the rural areas that natural gas mining is looking to, this may be a hand up, rather than a hand out, that many low income and unemployed workers need so long as the Governor and our legislators ensure that our green space, woodlands, mountains and water are protected.

If you are in a financial dilemma due to long-term unemployment, underemployment or other major life event, bankruptcy may be the answer to get you a financial fresh start. Contact the law offices of John T Orcutt for a free consultation on getting the debt relief you need.

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