Member Contractor Speaks Out Against Youngstown’s “Fracking Ban” Amendment

VEC's Chris Jaskiewicz spoke in opposition of Youngstown's proposed fracking ban.

VEC’s Chris Jaskiewicz spoke in opposition of Youngstown’s proposed fracking ban.

VEC Inc.’s Chris Jaskiewicz stood with other Mahoning Valley business, labor and community leaders last week to vocally oppose a proposed Youngstown city charter amendment that would ban many oil and gas related activities and businesses within the city limits. The measure is slated for the May 7 primary ballot.

A news conference at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber introduced the formation of the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment with an objective to blunt the perception that the Mahoning Valley is not a welcoming place for oil and gas development.

The coalition contends the amendment would ban hydraulic fracturing, injection wells and any siting of pipeline, compressor stations and other equipment for oil and gas well drilling in the city. It also would regulate all permitting of anything related to oil and gas drilling in the city, including manufacturing and storing of equipment for the oil and gas industry like pipe and compression equipment. Companies like V&M and Exterran could be affected.

“We back this coalition because this is the lifeblood of our company,” Jaskiewicz, VEC’s chief operating officer, said at the news conference. “The opportunity to bring our family members back home to Youngstown to work in our area is a true blessing, so we see this as an amazing opportunity.”

Jaskiewicz said growth in VEC’s oil and gas business led to 60 full-time hires last year, and 1,600 tradesmen and a $60 million payroll over the past two years.

More than 30 prominent community leaders from among local manufacturing companies, elected officials, law firms, banks, clergy and labor comprise the coalition. VEC, the Western Reserve Building Trades and the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 396 are among the participants.

“The IBEW Local 64, who provides the qualified electrical workforce to contractors such as VEC Inc., agrees that the new growth in the oil and gas drilling industry needs rules and regulations for everyone’s protection,” said Jim Burgham, IBEW Local 64 business manager. “However, the proposed charter amendment goes too far and could seriously impact jobs and growth in our community.”

See local news coverage of the April 5 press conference here:

Warren Tribune

Youngstown Vindicator

Business Journal