By Kay Braddock
As talk of constructing a major oil pipeline through portions of six Montana counties continues some have begun considering job opportunities for area residents.
But according to discussions at last week’s State Department scoping meeting, local employment on the 280 miles running through Montana may not be as much as appeared at first blush.
“Typically what we see in practical fact - if you look after the fact – is somewhere about 10 to 15 percent of the total workforce tends to come from the local community,” Jeff Rauh, TransCanada representative said. “I don’t know if in particular that will hold in this area because of the current population to draw from, but that is generally what we end up seeing.”
Under the general labor agreement between TransCanada and the Operating Engineers Union, 50 percent of the work is brought in, with the other half opened up for local employment. But those who are seeking work on the pipeline must meet union qualifications.
Questions on what those qualifications entail were brought up during the meeting.
“If that crew is not available locally, then they will fill it with available folks from outside the area,” Rauh said.
There are three major components for employment in this area, according to Rauh. They include construction of the pipeline, pump station construction and building and operating temporary work camps.
Crews of 600 workers will be used for each spread of the pipeline construction, working from one end of the spread to the other end. A spread is about 80 to 90 miles long. Tying pipelines to pump stations, which are located about 60 miles apart, is the final part of construction.
TransCanada expects to begin construction in May or June of next year, if the project is approved, and will be completed before winter.
Published May 26, 2010