Aligned with our commitment to meet or exceed compliance regulations, we recognize transparency is key when interacting with federal, state, and local authorities. Equitrans conducts internal and third-party audits to promote compliance with requirements, including for our construction projects and operational assets. We engage in a variety of activities throughout our operations to foster maintaining our Core Values of collaboration and transparency and compliance with all environmental regulations.
Managing Environmental Compliance
Compliance with laws and regulations
Management of material topics
To meet or exceed all applicable regulations, we work diligently to ensure our environmental compliance teams correctly identify regulations and develop effective strategies to achieve compliance, which includes utilizing various technology platforms. Through our enterprise asset management system, we collect and monitor data on applicable regulations and operating permits. One of our environmental software applications calculates air emissions from our assets and operations, ensuring we are compliant with our permits. In 2022, we began utilizing the Intelex app to track our spills and releases and to develop an environmental incident management database. The new database improved the quality of our environmental incident data by directly linking Notices of Violation (NOVs) and/or associated penalties with the original incident record. Additionally, we are in the process of implementing an environmental management system (EMS), which is intended to provide a formalized framework to manage our environmental risks and opportunities.
As an additional means of responsibility and transparency, Equitrans implemented a NOV Tracker to publicly disclose the Company’s formal notices of non-compliance and violations.
Equitrans believes it is equally important to be transparent when we do not live up to our expectations, and especially so when we fall short of federal, state, or local requirements for environmental compliance. In keeping with this belief, it is important to note that in 2022 the majority of Equitrans’ environmental non-compliance incidents or issues were self-reported, which means that if there was a finding of non-compliance, such as sediment escaping the right-of-way or a slip, our environmental team promptly reported the incident to the appropriate regulatory agency. Once reported, the agency then conducts a comprehensive evaluation to determine if a NOV should be issued, and assesses the related NOV penalty amount, if any. This evaluation takes three primary factors into account: impact to the environment; impact to the community; and Equitrans’ mitigation response time.
As an additional means of responsibility and transparency, we implemented a NOV Tracker to publicly disclose Equitrans’ formal notices of non-compliance and violations. The tracker, which is routinely updated and published on the Sustainability page of our website, summarizes our compliance data and acts as an accountability measure. Asset-related enforcement actions can be found in the Asset Safety and Integrity section of this report.
2022 Environmental Compliance Summary
The baseline for Equitrans is that any form of non-compliance is unacceptable regardless of whether it results in a NOV, fine, or penalty. We acknowledge that there was an increase in the number of environmental NOVs reported in 2022. In comparing year-over year statistics, during 2022 there were less NOVs associated with fluid/material releases and erosion/slide events that impacted waterbodies; however, there was a larger number of NOVs associated with administrative air compliance and well-plugging events (including in connection with the Rager Mountain Storage facility incident in November 2022, discussed elsewhere in this report), which led to an overall increase in associated NOVs. Of the total number of NOVs, 24 NOVs, or 37%, were administrative in nature and did not result in a penalty as there was no impact to the environment or community. In cases where a non-compliance event did result in an impact, the NOV issued and the penalty amount assessed was directly related to the level of environmental or community impact, as determined by the issuing agency. The penalty amount paid in 2022 decreased as reflected in the reduced severity of the individual non-compliance actions.
Environmental NOVs1, 2
70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP and MVP Southgate projects
2) Environmental NOVs are based on the date when a non-compliance event occurred; due to the inherent lag time between the event date and the potential NOV issuance date, the previously reported data was restated to accurately reflect the final number of non-compliance events that occurred each year
1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP and MVP Southgate projects
2) Penalty amounts are reported based on the date the penalties are paid
Enhancing Our Compliance Practices
At Equitrans, effective management is foundational to our environmental performance, with the goal of mitigating risk and realizing opportunities across the organization. In 2022, we began working towards this goal by rolling out elements of our enhanced EMS, which has been supported by executive management since its inception. Our EMS is designed to create Companywide ownership for environmental performance, versus having our environmental team be the sole driver of environmental performance. To reinforce this approach, an EMS lead was designated for each department and was tasked with responsibility to implement the EMS within their department and develop operating procedures and manuals for successful alignment with the new EMS Manual. The Manual describes the policies and procedures necessary for Equitrans to comply with ISO 14001 requirements. During 2023, Equitrans will continue working to implement the EMS with the ultimate goal of ISO 14001 certification and third-party verification in the future.
Proactive Project Outreach
Equitrans Midstream relies on proactive community engagement and feedback to foster a culture of trust, inclusivity, and transparency, and we view our projects and operations through a lens of responsibility and accountability. In keeping with this belief, environmental justice is an important component of our stakeholder outreach activities. Our Environmental Justice Policy lays the foundation of our commitment to provide for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in any public process involving our operations, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income.
It is often said that actions speak louder than words, which was the case for the outreach team working on our Ohio Valley Connector Expansion (OVCX) project. As a critical component of the project’s pre-planning phase, our team contracted the services of an outside vendor that specialized in the identification of environmental justice communities located near the project. After consulting with the FERC, the EPA, and our contracted environmental justice specialists, Equitrans extended the OVCX project’s landowner contact radius an additional 0.5 mile to maximize the outreach efforts and ensure all stakeholders were personally aware of and involved with the project details.
In addition to our land team contacting property owners and community members within the expanded radius, the OVCX outreach team conducted multiple pop-up educational meetings and community open houses; solicited pre-paid comment and suggestion cards; distributed various informational mailings; and remained engaged with the community every step of the way by responding to questions and feedback. To better understand the needs and challenges faced by those living near the proposed project, we also met with local organizations and elected officials, as well as other key decision makers. These additional, proactive measures taken by our OVCX outreach team went above and beyond regulatory requirements to ensure consistent communication and transparency throughout the project’s lifecycle.
Renewable Electricity and Scope 2 Emissions
With the publication of the Company’s Climate Policy in 2021, Equitrans established targets that include a 50% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 methane emissions by 2030 and a 50% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2040. Since this time, Equitrans has aggressively focused on reducing its direct Scope 1 emissions, which included the replacement of pneumatic devices and the installation of vent gas recovery units during 2022. These activities are expected to directly contribute to a reduction in methane emissions from operations. Additional information and details on the Company’s reduction efforts can be found in the GHG Emissions and Climate Change section of this report.
Equitrans is also working to reduce its indirect Scope 2 emissions, which are emissions related to purchased utilities, such as electric generation and heat. One method of aiding in the overall reduction of indirect Scope 2 emissions is through the purchase of certified renewable energy credits or RECs. Each REC is a certificate that corresponds to the environmental attributes of electricity that is generated from a zero-emissions renewable source and delivered to the electricity grid.
For the year-ended 2022, Equitrans purchased and retired 35,000 Green-e Energy certified RECs for its operations. These purchased RECs represent 35,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of generated renewable energy, which in this case was from wind energy generated in Oklahoma and delivered to the corresponding regional electric grid. By purchasing and retiring these RECs, Equitrans is taking credit for the renewable energy generated and ensuring that it is not accounted for elsewhere in the country. By purchasing these certified RECs, Equitrans was able to account for 100% of its purchased electricity through the supply of zero-carbon renewable energy, as related to its indirect Scope 2 GHG emissions.
Managing and Protecting Pipeline Integrity
Identification and management of landslide risk is a vital aspect of Equitrans’ daily work activities; however, the risk of a landslide is not limited to the midstream industry. Landslides can occur in any type of terrain, including both hills and valleys, and can be associated with any type of ongoing construction or pre-existing land disturbance. Natural factors such as rainfall and surface runoff water can amplify their frequency or severity; and left unmanaged, landslides have the potential to impact our environment. For Equitrans, this impact may include creating unnecessary strain on our underground pipelines, which are typically located in a variety of terrains as compared to our non-linear assets. To avoid unsafe situations and protect the integrity of our pipeline network, our engineering team uses a multi-faceted approach to aggressively identify and manage areas at risk for potential landslides.
To identify potential land movement near our assets, Equitrans’ engineers utilize aerial patrols, drones with photogrammetry change detection, and routine on-site inspections — or, if required, a combination of these methods may be used. In each case, we monitor our pipeline rights-of-way looking for any indication of unstable soil, such as discoloration, downed trees, or other data that could indicate a change in topography. Following a thorough evaluation of each asset location or suspected slide area by our engineering and compliance teams, we assign a priority ranking to indicate the potential for further movement and any risk to the environment or to the integrity of the pipeline.
As a final step, Equitrans pairs the geographic location data of known and suspected landslides with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) information. This analysis is done on a daily basis and allows Equitrans to identify rainfall events that could affect the stability of existing slide-prone areas and to rapidly respond and investigate when conditions change on the ground. In accordance with a defined framework that accounts for slide priority and rain severity, personnel may be deployed to conduct visual, on-site inspections. Beyond rainfall data, we also monitor temperature data to understand freeze thaw cycles and similarly deploy personnel to evaluate sites under changing conditions. Through continued use of these evaluation tools — aerial inspections, drone imaging, and manual site inspections — Equitrans remains committed to environmental and operational safety through its robust process to identify and manage potential landslides.
In addition, Equitrans launched a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) pilot program in 2020 to aid in the enhanced detection of potential landslides along our pipeline rights-of-way. Today, we conduct semi-annual LiDAR flights across thousands of miles of pipeline. The adoption of LiDAR technology and utilization of our enhanced construction standards are collectively designed to improve Equitrans’ ability to mitigate landslide risk for the safety of our employees and communities, and for the benefit of our customers, investors, and the environment.
Productivity … Redesigned
As the world continues to adapt and evolve, companies are re-evaluating their management approach and taking into consideration the individual needs and circumstances of their employees to create work-life harmonization. With the implementation of person-centric leadership practices, Equitrans took the opportunity to redesign how we operate, improving performance and engagement and increasing our ability to compete for talent.
In early 2020, Equitrans began to recognize the benefits of a flexible workplace model. We initiated a deeper dive into the concept by soliciting survey feedback from office-based employees regarding their preferred ‘workplace persona’ preferences (anchor, flex, and remote). Today, we have fully embraced a ‘person-centric’ work environment, which takes into account the physical, cognitive, and emotional needs of employees and encourages them to find the best integration between their work and personal lives. With this approach, work is no longer about where an employee is located, but about the actual work an employee does. Importantly, employees are evaluated on work produced, without consideration to where or how they worked.
Rather than conforming to legacy practices or location constraints, Equitrans’ person-centric work model is defined by flexible work experiences, intentional collaboration, and empathy-based management. For our field-based employees, who are primarily required to work onsite, we rolled out flexible work guidelines to demonstrate our commitment to our person-centric work approach. Upon implementation of this new work model, roughly 44% of employees are working remotely, 25% split their time between working remotely and at an Equitrans location, 31% work from an Equitrans location full-time, and less than 1% work part-time.
We expect our person-centric model will continue to improve employees’ satisfaction and retention, as well as help to expand our talent pool. Since implementing our workplace personas, the number of employees working in other U.S. locations has increased, and we have been able to improve gender diversity. As part of our new work model, we periodically conduct employee surveys and focus groups to obtain feedback, using the results to adjust our workplace practices, as needed.
Office-Centric vs Person-Centric Work Design
Provide consistent work experiences to deliver equality of experience
Provide flexible work experiences to deliver equality of opportunity
Enable serendipitous collaboration to deliver innovation by chance
Enable intentional collaboration to deliver innovation by design
Drive visibility-based management to deliver performance by inputs
Drive empathy-based management to deliver performance by outcome
Employee Generosity — Giving Back To Our Communities
Equitrans Midstream is committed to making a difference in our communities, and theUnitedWayis just onewaywe can join together to support those in need. For our 2022 campaign, we selected theUnitedWayof Washington Countyas our primary United Way affiliate, which aligns with our Company headquarters’ location. Employees also had the opportunity to donate to theUnitedWayof their choice by selecting from otherUnitedWayaffiliates located in our primary operating states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia.
To jump start our 2022 United Way campaign, we held a basket raffle during our all-employee meeting and holiday celebration in Morgantown, WV. Employee teams donated 27 individual baskets, with raffle ticket sales raising more than $11,000 in donations. This was matched dollar-for-dollar by our Corporate Local Giving Program,jump-starting our 2022 campaign with a contribution of more than $22,000 to the United Way.
Through our official United Way campaign, which is conducted annually via individual, online donations, Equitrans employees pledged roughly $57,000 in individual contributions, which was matched dollar-for-dollar through the Equitrans Midstream Foundation for a total of approximately $114,000. Additional donations were made outside of our formal campaign, and, based on totals provided by the United Way of Washington County — Equitrans’ contributions totaled more than $169,000 in 2022 — making us the top contributor in their Chairman’s Award for Top 5 Workplace Giving Campaign Partners program.
Equitrans also received the agency’s Campaign Excellence Award, which is presented to a workplace giving campaign partner that puts forth extra effort in running their annual workplace giving campaign. In addition to our traditional campaign, this award was due in part to the hosting of our special to basket raffle event, which engaged all employees and included matching funds by the Equitrans Midstream Foundation and the Company’s Corporate Local Giving Program.
The United Way of Washington County’s mission is to unite people, resources, and organization to improve lives in Washington County. Through Equitrans’ support, the various programs at United Way will be funded to serve the most pressing needs in vulnerable populations within our local operating areas. Our donation is a powerful force for change, and we thank our employees for their generosity and support!
Inspiring the World to Reuse
As we broaden our sustainability investments, we are especially proud of our partnership with Fill It Forward, an organization whose mission is “to inspire the world to reuse” by focusing on the elimination of single-use waste, such as plastic bottles and bags. In 2021, Equitrans partnered with Fill it Forward as a means of engaging and educating employees, while at the same time elevating our many ESG (environmental, social, and governance) initiatives.
In late 2021, we launched our Fill It Forward campaign with a custom holiday gift box for employees that included reusable tote bags and bottles with individual ‘scan tags’ that acted as a re-use tracker. When the tags were scanned, the data was automatically uploaded to Equitrans’ custom group on the Fill It Forward app and was used for tracking our collective impact, such as waste diverted, emissions saved, and how much ocean pollution was prevented.
Along with helping to eliminate waste, there was a charitable component to our Fill It Forward campaign. Each employee scan unlocked a $1 donation for every reuse, which contributed funds to our chosen charitable organization — DigDeep’s Appalachia Water Project. The funds collected were used to provide clean drinking water through the installation of meter-to-home water lines for families in southern West Virginia who currently have unsafe, limited, or no water at all. Our goal was to generate 10,000 scans and raise $10,000 for the Appalachia Water Project, and we were thrilled to have reached our goal roughly six months into the campaign. In addition, as part of Equitrans’ annual holiday giving initiatives, we made a separate donation of $20,000 to the Appalachia Water Project.
Thanks to the efforts of our employees — Equitrans was the proud recipient of Fill It Forward’s Changemaker Award for 2022. This unique ESG-focused campaign was a means of engaging and educating employees, while also elevating our sustainability efforts. Together with Fill It Forward, we believe that the simple act of reusing is the first step towards creating a sustainable mindset for all generations — and as an added benefit — being able to connect families with access to safe water will ensure the health and success of communities for years to come.
Equitrans Midstream’s Impact
lbs of emissions saved
lbs of waste diverted from landfill
kwH of power saved
lbs of ocean pollution prevented
20,586 total reuses
Source: Statistics calculated by Fill It Forward, as of year-end 2022
Enhancing Methane Monitoring
In January 2023, Equitrans announced its status as a founding member of the newly formed Appalachian Methane Initiative (AMI), a coalition of regional natural gas operators committed to further enhancing methane monitoring throughout the Appalachia Basin and facilitating additional methane emissions reduction in the region. The AMI coalition was formed ‘for the purpose of establishing and effectuating a methane monitoring, reporting, and mitigation network throughout the geographic area known as the Appalachian Basin.’
AMI’s efforts are intended to promote greater efficiency in the identification and remedy of potential fugitive methane emissions from operations in the Appalachian Basin through coordinated satellite and aerial surveys on a geographic-basis as opposed to an operator-specific basis and taking into account advanced methane monitoring and reporting frameworks. Additionally, the coalition will seek to coordinate and share best practices in mitigating methane emissions from natural gas operations, including production and midstream, and collaborate on activities and monitor results through transparent, publicly available reporting.
For much of 2023, AMI is focusing on developing and implementing a pilot monitoring program to cover select areas of interest within the Basin’s major operating footprints, with the goal of working to develop and implement a full-Basin monitoring plan in 2024.
As part of AMI’s official launch,a news release was issued by the coalition’s founding members. We believe our membership in AMI will support our ongoing methane reduction efforts and complement our many ESG initiatives, and we look forward to working with other coalition members on advancing AMI’s initiatives.
Our Bees Are All The Buzzzzz
At Equitrans, there is a clear tone that begins at the top — sustainability is critically important to the world we live in and is also essential to the future growth of our Company. In 2023, E-Train celebrated Earth Day with the kickoff of a two-year sustainability partnership with Alvéole. Alvéole focuses on bee-friendly communities for greener cities by installing honey bee hives at business locations across the world to foster environmental awareness and educate communities on the importance of creating sustainable bee populations. In fact, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, honey bees help to produce one-third of our food supply by pollinating $15 billion worth of crops in the U.S. each year, including more than 130 types of fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
Through our new partnership with Alvéole, E-Train is hosting and supporting two honey bee hives at each of our Canonsburg, St. Clairsville, and Waynesburg offices. The hives were installed in late spring, and the bees have begun to collect nectar and pollinate thousands of flowers and plants. With the help of our assigned Alvéole beekeeper, the hives will become established, and the bees will re-emerge every spring to pollinate flora to grow food and produce E-Train’s own locally sourced honey.
Equitrans and Alvéole also established “MyHive” microsites for each of E-Train’s office locations. The MyHive sites are located on Equitrans’ intranet, and employees can access the sites at any time to find educational honey bee information and receive updates on our hives. As an added benefit, Alvéole beekeepers will conduct various on-site informational events for employees, such as beeswax candle making and honey extraction sessions.
As we continue to safely and responsibly operate our network of natural gas pipelines, water lines, and compressor stations, it’s important to remember that the decisions we make today have a lasting and positive impact on future generations. On Earth Day and every day, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard by embracing our responsibility to operate in a manner that minimizes impacts on our natural resources and — above all else — we must keep safety our top priority, always.