Our Approach to Political Engagement
We must engage policymakers on matters directly related to our operations and the natural gas industry to motivate, and remained informed of, changes that may affect our business. Policymakers need access to accurate information about the oil and natural gas industry as a whole to make well-informed policy decisions. We provide policymakers with timely and accurate information about our industry and engage with them to promote policies that will create jobs, spur economic growth, ensure energy security, and support the clean energy transition.
Our political engagement activity is strictly limited to the United States, the only country in which we operate, and as a Company, we maintain high standards of integrity while engaging with policymakers on matters that impact Equitrans. Our public policy activities, including any related political contributions, are conducted in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws, as applicable in our operating jurisdictions. These laws include federal and state campaign finance laws regarding political spending in support of political parties, politicians, and related institutions. In addition, we have specific Company policies that guide our interactions with lawmakers and regulatory agencies. These governing policies stipulate that no Equitrans employee may seek the advice or assistance of a lobbyist at the federal, state, or local level and/or engage in lobbying activities on behalf of Equitrans without approval from both the Company’s General Counsel and corporate compliance department. In addition, Equitrans employees are not permitted to use corporate treasury funds or Company assets, services, or facilities to support any political candidate or party unless it is permitted by law and authorized by both the Company's General Counsel and corporate compliance department.
Equitrans discloses recipient information related to political advocacy, which includes lobbying and interest representation; local, regional, and national political campaigns; and trade associations.
Political Spending and Policy Issues
Equitrans supports fair and balanced regulations that benefit our Company and its stakeholders, and we are primarily dedicated to working with policymakers on opportunities that promote stable investment climates for natural gas transportation and storage, including supporting the enactment of broad, federal energy infrastructure permitting reform legislation. Policies preferred by Equitrans involve the governance of environmental protection, taxes, and natural gas pipelines, as well as expanding the use of natural gas in sectors such as transportation, manufacturing, and electricity generation.
The Company discloses recipient information related to political advocacy, which includes lobbying and interest representation; local, regional, and national political campaigns; and trade associations. Lobbying activities are strictly regulated at the federal and state levels, and Equitrans files quarterly reports in accordance with each jurisdiction’s requirements, including through the North Carolina Secretary of State, Office of the Ohio Legislative Inspector General, Pennsylvania Department of State, West Virginia Ethics Commission, and Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth. For the year-ended December 31, 2022, Equitrans contributed $779,000 to various political advocacy groups and trade associations; and the Equitrans Political Action Committee (PAC) contributed $76,100 to local, state, and federal candidates in our service territories, the disclosures of which can be found on fec.gov. In 2022, Equitrans did not have any spending related to ballot measures or referendums. On an annual basis, Equitrans’ Board of Directors receives and reviews a report on the Company’s political activities and donations.
Since the initial development of the Marcellus and Utica Shales, the states in our operational footprint have strived to promote a stable investment environment. Equitrans works closely with federal, state, and local policymakers to develop a regulatory framework that promotes a stable business environment for our operations and the economy of the regions where we operate. In recent years, we have noted increased efforts by third parties to oppose, by legislative means, the natural gas industry, and we have worked to educate policymakers such that they may fairly weigh such opposition efforts.
Evaluating Our Political Involvement
It is vital that we continuously evaluate our approach to political involvement to maintain its effectiveness. By helping policymakers and regulators better understand the role of natural gas in the domestic and international economy, including its importance in the transition to a lower-carbon future, they have the power to shape policies that support the critical need for natural gas as the clean energy transition continues. For this reason, we believe the implementation of a comprehensive and thoughtful political engagement plan can help Equitrans achieve its environmental, social, and governance business objectives.
Equitrans’ Corporate Policy 2.8 affirms the Company’s commitment to comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements relating to lobbying activities and expenditures at the federal, state, and local levels. This Policy covers all employees of Equitrans Midstream and all lobbying activities and expenditures on behalf of the Company.
Further, and as illustrated in this section of our sustainability report, Equitrans openly declares the Company’s business interests; strives to ensure that its political engagement information is current and complete and is not misleading to or misrepresentative of third-party organizations and/or the staff of public authorities; and transparently provides its monetary donations to political parties and organizations.
We believe it is important to help policymakers and regulators better understand the role of natural gas in the domestic and international economy, including its critical importance in the transition to a lower-carbon future.
Taking into account a primary focus on our operating regions and the advancement of our industry and its related initiatives, including policies governing environmental protection, taxes, and natural gas transportation, the Equitrans PAC Board reviews and approves all PAC disbursements. The Company’s PAC Board is comprised of management level employees and does not include members of our Board of Directors. In light of the incident of January 6, 2021, at the United States Capitol, the PAC Board has applied increased scrutiny of donations to existing and prospective members of Congress and other political figures. The Equitrans PAC Board adopted new bylaws in 2022 and, in accordance with these bylaws, met during the year to review donations and activities. Equitrans is committed to full transparency in our political involvement, and we encourage our employees, shareholders, and other interested parties to engage with us on this issue.