Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

Gas Industry Survey Contradicts Claims Of Widespread Drug Use

DCED Secretary Alan Walker says 50 percent of Marcellus shale job applicants can't pass drug tests and the main problem is marijuana. A recent survey of gas companies contradicts his claim.

Chris Clark | MLive.com/Landov

DCED Secretary Alan Walker says 50 percent of Marcellus shale job applicants can't pass drug tests and the main problem is marijuana. A recent survey of gas companies contradicts this claim.

Are a lot of people looking for work in the state’s drilling industry on drugs?

According to a recent survey of gas companies, the answer is no.

Governor Corbett made national news last spring when he suggested Pennsylvania employers are having a hard time finding workers who can pass a drug test.

One of Corbett’s cabinet members brought the issue up again this week– specifically pointing to the state’s natural gas industry.

Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Alan Walker was speaking to a mostly industry crowd this week in Pittsburgh and said he was shocked to hear about all the issues with drug use:

“We hear from the companies, as many as 50 percent of the people they’re interviewing for the jobs where there’s a little bit of danger involved and the truckers… 50 percent are not passing the drug tests. That’s a really terrible statistic, but that’s a societal problem.

Walker says the main problem is marijuana use.

“We now have a younger generation that looks at the whole drug issue a lot differently than the older generation,” he said. “What we found out is it’s much more pervasive than we thought.”

When asked by StateImpact Pennsylvania, Walker acknowledged the 50 percent figure is anecdotal.

“The number I’m using comes from the people I’ve talked to in the gas industry who are looking for employees,” he said.

But a recent survey conducted by the gas industry trade group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, paints a different picture.

“Our most recent annual membership workforce survey indicates that drug test-related challenges are not a highly prevalent factor associated with securing qualified new hires,” MSC spokesman Travis Windle said in an email.

The survey includes responses form 101 of the MSC’s member companies.

When asked about recruitment challenges, nearly 60 companies replied to a question about whether drug test failures were a concern.

About two-thirds of the respondents say drug tests are “not at all” an issue.

A third said it was “somewhat” of a concern, and only one or two companies listed it as a “significant” concern:

Drug test graph

Courtesy: Marcellus Shale Coalition

Comments

  • Julieann Wozniak

    The GOP lies to promote its own socially restrictive agenda. This is new?

  • Charisse Michelle

    So he lied? To protect the war on marijuana huh? Shocking.

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