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Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 20, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.

— After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they're now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale fracking boom.

That vocal support from blue-collar workers complicates efforts by environmentalists to limit drilling.

The Laborers' International Union, or LIUNA, says that construction work its members do on large pipeline jobs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia increased significantly over the last five years. In 2008, LIUNA members worked about 400,000 hours on such jobs. By 2012, it had risen to 5.7 million hours.

The group Penn Environment says there should be more investments in wind and solar power to give workers those kinds of jobs.

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