The first Hebron public review sessions begin today in St. John’s. One submission, from the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association raises some interesting issues. Their report contains some telling statistics about how important the industry is for our province; VOCM reports the NOIA report details that oil industry currently employs more than 4,000 people directly, and 17,000 people are employed indirectly through spin-off jobs. NOIA says personal income is up 35 per cent and overall employment growth is also up almost 16 per cent since Hibernia first started pumping oil back in 1997. Yet the board is concerned that there is the potential for erosion of local benefits because of the lack of publicly available information on the percentage of local work derived from each stage of a project. The sessions are underway right now, and can be followed online at the Hebron Project website here.