LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) - A company that will supply materials to hydro-fracking sites out-of-state is opening shop in Lackawanna.
The process of drilling for natural gas, known as fracking, is still not allowed in New York, but it is in most states, and a Canadian company sees Lackawanna as strategic location to serve that market.
Over the past six months, a large factory has been built under the windmills in Lackawanna along Fuhrmann Boulevard. It's barely visible from Rt. 5.
Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski said, "This is the first steel industry that's coming back to Lackawanna since the steel plant closed 30 years ago, almost to the month."
The company is called Welded Tube of Canada and has found its niche making long steel tubes for oil and gas drilling. The company has been sending so many of their pipes down south through Western New York, that an old Bethlehem Steel property seemed like a perfect location to set up a new U.S. factory to service this booming industry.
Welded Tube of Canada President Robert Mandel said, "There is clearly at times, a demand for U.S. made product and hence we could meet that requirement as well by being in the U.S."
Brand new rail lines will allow Welded Tube to ship their tubes directly down to Pennsylvania and Ohio, where the fracking industry is thriving.
Szymanski said, "We are relocating the new rail lines with the assistance of the County Executive, new gas lines, water lines in order to accommodate Welded Tube and new industry that's looking to piggy-back off this operation."
The building will be finished by July and manufacturing pipes by September. Welded Tube plans to hire 40 workers by mid-summer.
"We are accepting applications. We have done some limited hiring to date but are very, very actively recruiting and searching for the employees we need," Mandel said.
If you're interested in one of the factory or office positions, visit Welded Tube's website. The company may eventually employ over a hundred people for this $50 million investment.
Szymanski says the only downside to the deal is that the Erie County Industrial Development Agency enticed Welded Tube to the location by promising the company wouldn't have to pay any county or city taxes for the first seven years.
"We worked diligently to help this company set up here, but the next few companies are going to have to pay their fair share of taxes because we're a city, we run off of money and when you run out of it, you run into hardships," he said.
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