Why Managing It Matters
Local communities continue to be essential to the success and long-term growth of EQT’s business operations. Our operations can and do affect nearby communities, so it is important that EQT conduct business and perform related operations with the support, trust, and cooperation of our local communities.
Management Approach & Performance
EQT values the communities where we operate, and we focus on three areas to support and engage with them: managing our impacts, various forms of investment, and upholding a positive reputation. As EQT strives to grow responsibly, we work to build trust by sharing information associated with our current, planned, and proposed operations. Through public engagement, education, corporate giving, and volunteerism, we are better able to uphold our reputation as a responsible natural gas company and operate in a manner that is conducive to the needs and concerns of our local communities and governments.
Addressing Local Community Concerns & Public Perceptions
Increased truck traffic, road impacts, noise, dust, lights, and 24/7 operations associated with the construction of wellpads, as well as the active drilling and completion of wells, are examples of concerns among local communities in our operating area. The size of a wellpad will dictate the amount of time required to prepare and build the site, and in many cases, construction may take more than a month to complete prior to the commencement of drilling operations. Access to wellpads can be located near or shared with community neighbors, which can lead to heavy traffic and operations near local residences. The construction phase and increased truck traffic may produce noise from engine brakes, dust from unimproved roads, lights from night operations on the pad, and road impacts from high traffic volumes.
To better understand these concerns, our Local Government and Community Affairs Specialists — regionally based EQT employees — are responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships with civic organizations, elected officials, emergency response personnel, business owners, residents, and other local stakeholders. These specialists work closely with EQT’s Land, Permitting, Construction, and Legal departments, among others, to report concerns and engagement outcomes. The group, led by the Manager of Local Government and Community Affairs, is part of the Environmental & Public Policy team, which ultimately reports to the General Counsel.
We use our awareness of community concerns to establish policies and procedures designed to minimize or eliminate most operational issues before they become disputes. For example, during the past several years, we evaluated issues and concerns related to how our operations might affect nearby residents and businesses in more densely populated areas. We also collaborate with counties affected by truck traffic and associated road impacts from our operations to mitigate the burden on local economies. See 203-1: Infrastructure investments and services supported below.
As most of EQT’s visible workforce is contractor-based, the contracted company holds responsibility for worker behavior. The majority of our contractors with a fleet base hold daily safety meetings to address appropriate behaviors and minimize impacts on the local community. EQT works closely with its contractors to ensure removal or discipline of a worker on a case-by-base basis if recurring issues arise.
Our conscious efforts to understand and work with local communities support our desire to expand responsibly and develop positive relationships. We strive to improve the public’s perception of our Company, as well as that of the natural gas industry. Our Local Government and Community Affairs Specialists protect and maintain EQT’s corporate reputation by:
- Gathering information to help EQT identify local concerns before they inconvenience neighbors
- Advocating for the community by ensuring that issues or concerns are addressed at the appropriate level within the Company and ultimately achieve resolution
- Acting as a conduit for suggesting ways to strengthen EQT’s processes and procedures
- Providing a local point of contact for residents to learn about current or future projects and how they may affect their communities
- Building relationships prior to the start of activity in new areas
Evaluating Our Approach
EQT maintains an internal database that tracks all concerns raised via the Local Government and Community Affairs Specialists and includes elements from identification through resolution. The database enables EQT to avoid issue recurrence by assessing lessons learned. Annually, we analyze the results to identify trends in performance, benchmark against previous data, and help determine any required procedural changes. We also conduct an annual survey targeted to local elected officials and community leaders to gauge performance and reputation.
All of EQT’s unconventional operations in the Appalachian Basin participated in organization-wide local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs in 2017.
|Werner wellpad||Urban wellpad||Neighbors affected by operations||Multiple neighbors close enough to be affected||Local area assembled neighborhood group to communicate their concerns and impacts to EQT. EQT installed a sound wall and paved the access road to reduce dust and debris.|
|West Pike Run Township||Township creating new ordinance that is potentially restrictive||Neighbors affected by operations||More than 12 people opposing industry||Township in process of adopting ordinance that would potentially eliminate development opportunity for EQT to extract minerals.|
*EQT defines a significant dispute as one that receives sustained media coverage, has organized opposition, or involves/affects more than 12 people
We decommissioned 96 sites in 2017. None of our operations caused local residents to involuntarily resettle.
Giving Back to Our Communities
EQT and the EQT Foundation — a separate 501(c)(3) organization — support our communities through their local giving, sponsorship, and philanthropic efforts. Charitable contributions from both EQT and the EQT Foundation are restricted to organizations primarily within those communities near EQT’s active operations.
Corporate Communications and/or Government Affairs leaders approve all corporate donations to local communities. We follow a routine review and pre-approval process to avoid support of illegal or otherwise inappropriate activities and the appearance of impropriety that could arise if contributions were made to individuals or local authorities with decision-making responsibilities regarding EQT’s current or future operations. EQT donations support a variety of organizations ranging from small local nonprofits to municipalities seeking additional support for community projects that exceed their budgets. Other types of corporate support include sponsorships of county fairs, community festivals, and other local events. Our support enables EQT to bond with our neighbors, enhance the quality of life for residents, educate residents about our Company, and provide an opportunity for our fellow community members to meet EQT employees.
The EQT Foundation also provides funding for communities in and near EQT’s operating areas. The EQT Foundation’s Executive Operating Committee reviews all grant applications, which must be submitted by a nonprofit organization and comply with U.S. laws and regulations applicable to corporate foundations, and provides a funding recommendation regarding each request to the EQT Foundation’s Board of Directors. The EQT Foundation Board of Directors approves all funding decisions. In 2017, the EQT Foundation supported local programming in five main funding priority areas:
- Arts & Culture
- Community & Economic Development
The Foundation periodically adjusts its funding priorities to ensure that its funding strategy matches the evolving needs of the communities where EQT and our affiliates operate. EQT Foundation gave more than $6.5 million to support local communities in 2017. Examples of the 2017 EQT Foundation grant recipients include:
- All Star Code
- American Heart Association
- Arts Link
- Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh
- Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council
- Harrison Rail Trails
- Intermediate Unit 1 Educational Foundation
- Main Street Farmers Market
- Mountaineer Food Bank
- Operation Outreach - USA
- Pennsylvania Envirothon, Inc.
- Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
- Saint Francis University
- West Virginia Northern Community College Foundation
- West Virginia Students of Excellence Scholarships program
- Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
- WQED Multimedia
When combined, EQT — via the EQT Foundation grants and various corporate community investment opportunities — contributed more than $12 million to our communities in 2017.
In 2017, EQT invested approximately $4.4 million to improve roads and associated infrastructure in affected communities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where the majority of our activities take place.