As part of Equitrans’ efforts to build a more sustainable future, we believe it is important to educate the public about the critical role that natural gas plays, and we believe will continue to play, in the transition to a lower-carbon economy. As this transition progresses, we must address public concerns and perceptions about natural gas — listening to and acting on community input to build trust and long-lasting relationships.
Our government affairs, communications/corporate affairs, and land groups serve as the primary liaison for responding to inquiries from our community stakeholders. Equitrans’ construction and engineering teams also assist in addressing specific technical or operational inquiries. Collectively, these teams frequently engage with civic organizations, elected officials, emergency response personnel, business owners, and residents to foster relationships at the local, state, and national levels.
Specific to the OVCX project, Equitrans extended its landowner contact radius from 0.5 mile to 1 mile to maximize the engagement efforts by our land team.
In late 2022, Equitrans initiated a toll-free Community Hotline (888-574-6944) specifically designed for the timely exchange of questions, concerns, and suggestions from members of our local communities, as well as our many other stakeholders. Additionally, in 2021, we began evaluating the development of a Companywide stakeholder engagement and issues tracking system. The system is intended to create a single repository for various departments to identify and manage general concerns, requests, and specific issues. In doing so, we would be better able to deliver on our commitment to accurately resolve concerns/issues in a timely manner, ensure uniformity in our resolution approach, and proactively minimize issues before they become larger concerns or disputes. A technology solution was identified in 2022 and system implementation is targeted for 2023.
Additionally, our land team manages specific requests regarding payment- or tax-related questions. Landowners can contact Equitrans representatives through our Owner Relations phone number (888-613-7848) or via email at OwnerRelations@equitransmidstream.com.
Key Topics Raised by Local Stakeholders
The majority of key topics and concerns raised by our local stakeholders are temporary issues, such as noise, roadway damage, and increased traffic, most of which occur during the construction phase. When a stakeholder voices a concern, we assign relevant project team members to address and provide solutions. Should the project team member be unable to alleviate a stakeholder’s concern, we escalate the topic to the appropriate management level. Once implemented, our stakeholder engagement and issues tracking system will be a valuable tool in this area.
We continuously evaluate the impacts of our operations on local communities and establish best practices to proactively mitigate issues and concerns to the greatest extent possible. As an example, prior to the installation of a compressor station, we evaluate the area around the station and perform sound studies to understand baseline noise levels and identify potential noise-related issues that may arise. If these studies identify a noise issue, we proactively install sound mitigation measures, where appropriate, to minimize impact to the neighboring properties.
Equitrans invested more than $1,145,000 in local roadway improvements during 2022.
Our use of roads during pipeline construction is another noteworthy example of our efforts to be responsible community stewards. Construction activities often temporarily impact local roadway conditions, and it is important that we make every effort to minimize these impacts. When starting construction, Equitrans implements established procedures to identify the roads we will traverse to assess any maintenance that may be required, either before or after work is finished. We communicate this information to the local municipality and work with the municipality’s officials to ensure minimal disruption to community members during our use of the roadways. In 2022, Equitrans invested a total of more than $1,145,000 in local roadway repairs and upgrades across its operating areas in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Maintaining an open and transparent dialogue with our many local stakeholders demonstrates Equitrans’ steadfast commitment to social responsibility and ensures that we are upholding our Core Values and following our policies, practices, and procedures. We encourage community engagement in all aspects of our business and believe community feedback allows our organization to be more effective and efficient.
Enhancing Stakeholder Outreach for New Projects
We strive to establish good working relationships with local communities and to reinforce clear lines of communication, which is particularly important when commencing new construction projects. For the OVCX project, Equitrans began outreach activities in the months leading up to the filing of the project's application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the FERC. Equitrans initially contacted landowners in April 2021 for survey permission and to open the dialogue regarding the Project’s expansion plans. After consulting with the FERC and the Environmental Protection Agency, Equitrans extended the project's landowner contact radius from 0.5 mile to 1 mile to maximize the engagement efforts by our land team.
The OVCX outreach team also met with state and local elected officials; hosted three community open houses (Greene County, PA; Wetzel County, WV; and Monroe County, OH); sent additional project-related informational mailings (including pre-paid postage comment cards for direct feedback); distributed routine newsletters with project updates; established a project website early in the process for easy access to information; set-up a “pop-up” information table at a local business; and supported events and programs in the project area through our corporate local giving program. Additional project information can be found online at OVCX Project.
At Equitrans, we believe in investing in our communities, supporting local organizations, and giving back in ways that are most meaningful to our stakeholders. We are committed to being a good neighbor and strive to create lasting value for our employees, families, and community members. Through our corporate local giving and sponsorship program, as well as the Equitrans Midstream Foundation, we support a wide range of organizations within our communities and are expanding our efforts to include larger-scale initiatives that have a sustainability focus. By investing in our communities and elevating our sustainability outreach, we create a positive impact that extends far beyond our Company, helping to strengthen the foundation for future generations.
Aligned with our Core Values and sustainability initiatives, including select United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our corporate local giving and sponsorship program is designed to assist local organizations, non-profit groups, first responders, and municipalities seeking assistance for community projects. Other investments include the active sponsorship of county fairs, community festivals, and other local events. These donations and sponsorships present opportunities for us to interact with community members, inform them of our business operations, and most importantly, enhance their quality of life.
During 2022, Equitrans’ employees logged 852 hours of volunteer time through our volunteer paid-time off program.
Our E-Train On-Track Committee consists of employee representatives from various departments who work to coordinate employee events and community volunteer opportunities. On a monthly basis, committee members evaluate opportunities presented by their coworkers, including volunteerism, community service, and employee social activities. Equitrans offers a “volunteer paid-time off” program that allows employees to use regular work hours to engage directly with their community. With supervisor approval, an employee can take up to two business days of paid volunteer time each year to work in the community with a non-profit charity or organization of their choice.
Finally, as the charitable arm of our Company, the Equitrans Midstream Foundation is a legally separate 501(c)(3) entity established in 2018. Our Foundation partners with non-profit organizations to boost social and economic prosperity in local communities by investing in projects and programs through three focus areas: community development, education, and the environment.
Corporate Local Giving and Sponsorships
In line with our Stakeholder Engagement and Community Investment Policy, our communications and corporate affairs team utilizes a formal Stakeholder Engagement and Community Investment (SECI) Plan to outline our outreach and local giving/sponsorship activities for the year. The SECI Plan is updated annually during the standard business plan cycle, and, to ensure legality and appropriateness, the SECI Plan includes a formal review structure and approval process, as well as a quarterly review by our internal audit team. The primary objective is to ensure all contributions align with our Core Values and to verify donations are not being made to entities that have oversight of our current or future operations.
Equitrans’ senior community advisor manages the internal review process, and members of the review team are a cross-functional representation of employees, including land, legal, human resources, field operations, business development, construction, government affairs, and communications and corporate affairs departments. The review process ensures requests are in line with Equitrans’ Corporate Sponsorships and Local Giving Guidelines, which are available for stakeholder reference on Equitrans’ website. The level of review is based on the dollar amount being requested, with multi-year sponsorship requests and larger regional or national initiatives requiring executive review.
During 2022, Equitrans’ corporate contributions totaled more than $700,000 and supported more than 75 community activities.
In addition, there is potential for local giving/sponsorship opportunities to be aligned with the United Nations SDGs, including, but not limited to, SDG3 (health & wellness); SDG4 (quality education); SDG5 (gender equality); SD6 (clean water & sanitation); SDG7 (affordable & clean energy); SDG8 (decent work & economic growth); SDG9 (industry, innovation & infrastructure); SDG11 (sustainable communities); SDG13 (climate action); and SDG15 (life on land). Alignment with the SDGs is evaluated as part of the review process; however, lack of alignment does not preclude funding for local community events and organizations. The team categorizes each approved request to align with the select SDG, as applicable. In 2022, approximately 95% of the Company's charitable donations aligned with at least one SDG.
During 2022, Equitrans made supporting contributions totaling more than $700,000 (excluding project-related donations). Since our launch as an independent midstream company, our community involvement has continued to increase and evolve, and we have taken on several broader ESG-related initiatives aligned with select UN SDGs. Corporate sponsorships and donations for the year included programs and organizations such as:
- Allegheny Parks
- Appalachia Water Project
- Belmont County Agricultural Society
- Belmont County District Library
- Belmont County Schools
- Beverly’s Birthdays
- City of Mannington
- Crossed Paws Animal Shelter
- DogTopia Foundation
- Fern Hollow Nature Center
- Governor’s One Shot, Inc.
- Greene County Community & Technical Center
- Jefferson Morgan Centennial Lions Club
- Junior Achievement
- Ohio Oil and Gas Association
- One Tree Planted
- Parents in ToTo
- Sardis C.A.R.E.S
- Sons of the American Legion
- SWPA Ducks Unlimited
- Three Rivers Youth
- United Way Lewis, Gilmer & Upshur
- United Way of Washington County
- Washington County Agricultural Association
- Waynesburg University
- West Greene Schools
- West Virginia Botanic Gardens
- West Virginia Game Changers Education Program
- Women’s Energy Network
- Multiple 4-H and livestock events, community festivals, county fairs, emergency responders, volunteer fire departments, and scholarship programs
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. Additional information for our Fill It Forward campaign, including our collective environmental benefits, can be found in the Highlight Stories of this report.
Equitrans employees recorded 20,586 total reuses during our 2022 Fill It Forward campaign.
Equitrans also partnered with the West Virginia Botanic Garden (WVBG) for the renovation of its new visitors center – the Equitrans Midstream Visitors Center. The new center, targeted for completion in summer 2025, will include a gift shop, café, office space, and a ticketing office for special events, as well as additional amenities for WVBG visitors. In alignment with Equitrans’ many sustainability efforts, the WVBG’s mission is to foster learning, inspiration, and well-being through the beauty and wonder of plants, the natural environment, and culturally enriching experiences. In addition, the Equitrans Midstream Foundation made a $40,000 grant to support educational summer camps and school trips during the fall of 2022 and spring of 2023.
In 2021 and 2022, Equitrans donated monies to the Fairmont State University Foundation for the construction of a new Sustainability Shelter at Fairmont State University. The shelter is expected to be complete in 2023 and will be used as an outdoor learning space for students and as a venue for hosting local community and educational events. This donation fully supports many of our ESG initiatives and aligns with two of the SDGs, Quality Education and Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. In 2021, the Fairmont State Foundation honored Equitrans with its “Philanthropic Corporation of the Year” award, which represents a company's outstanding commitment to and engagement in activities that support and advance philanthropy at Fairmont State University.
Volunteerism and E-Train On-Track
In 2022, our E-Train On-Track Committee offered a variety of options for employee engagement through community volunteerism opportunities. With most pandemic restrictions lifted, the number of volunteer and employee events continued to grow, and, through the Company’s volunteer paid-time off program, our employees logged a total of 852 volunteer hours during the year. Volunteer activities for 2022 included the following organizations:
- Junior Achievement school events
- Special Olympics Torch Run
- The Education Partnership’s school supply kits
- UPMC Children’s Hospital firearm and ATV safety outreach
- Clarksburg-Harrison Library Back-to-School Bash
- Western Pennsylvania Conservancy garden planting
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
- Salvation Army Adopt-a-Family
- U.S. Marine Corps Toys-for-Tots
- West Virginia Division of Natural Resources holiday toy drive
The Equitrans Midstream Foundation
Through philanthropic partnerships alongside a network of non-profit organizations, the Equitrans Midstream Foundation is able to create a more secure future for the members of communities where we live and work. The Equitrans Midstream Foundation is proud to support initiatives that address the critical needs in our communities, continuous learning through education, and sustainability in our environment.
The Foundation’s community development investments focus on initiatives that enhance the fabric of communities by:
- Enhancing community safety and well-being
- Supporting the enrichment of arts and culture in the community
- Fostering inclusion and promoting diversity in communities
- Encouraging the development of livable communities that attract and retain residential, commercial, and industrial growth
The Foundation’s spending on education initiatives looks to develop a sustainable energy workforce through projects that:
- Advance science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education, with a focus on accessibility to underserved and underrepresented groups
- Prepare students to compete in the workforce of the future, with tools to make positive social and economic contributions
- Empower students to pursue trades and vocational training
The Foundation’s environmental investments support organizations that focus on preserving and protecting the environment by:
- Providing environmental education on land, air, and water stewardship
- Empowering individuals and organizations to utilize conservation methods to preserve our natural resources
- Supporting projects that promote environmental stewardship
During 2022, the Foundation contributed $415,342 in employee matching donations to 501(c)(3) organizations and other nonprofit groups.
In 2022, the Foundation made grants totaling $1,011,915 to a number of non-profit organizations that support the underserved and underrepresented populations in our operating areas. Additionally, the Foundation matches employee and/or director contributions dollar-for-dollar, from $100 to $50,000 annually, and made an additional $415,342 in employee/director matching donations to 501(c)(3) organizations. Below are a few of the key programs our Foundation supported in 2022:
- Beverly’s Birthdays
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Pittsburgh
- CASA of Greene County
- Community Foundation of Greene County
- Corner Cupboard Food Bank
- Donora Historical Society
- Dress for Success Pittsburgh
- End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org)
- Girl Scouts Western PA
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
- Intermediate Unit One Education Foundation
- Mountaineer Food Bank Veterans Table
- Nazareth Farm
- Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Foundation Centers for Excellence in Education
- The Bus Stops Here Foundation
- The Education Partnership
- Thomas Campbell Apartments
- West Virginia Botanic Garden
- West Virginia University Foundation
- YCF of North Central WV
Evaluating and understanding the perspectives of all involved parties allows us to identify key areas of focus and make informed decisions that reflect the best interests of both our Company and the community. Our primary means of engagement is through direct communication and relationship-building with all involved stakeholders (landowners, community members, elected officials, emergency responders, etc.). Through these personal engagements, we learn about positive outcomes directly from stakeholders and receive recommendations regarding how we can better address community matters directly from stakeholders.
Furthermore, Equitrans’ Environmental Justice Policy bolsters our efforts to provide greater accessibility to stakeholders, build stronger working relationships, and create positive outreach opportunities in our operating communities. We believe that by taking a proactive stance regarding stakeholder engagement and community investment, we are better able to enhance and/or build thriving communities. In doing so, our Core Values of Safety, Integrity, Collaboration, Transparency, and Excellence are the principles that guide our employees’ behaviors and decisions, and include efforts such as:
- Gathering information to help identify local concerns before inconveniences may affect neighbors
- Advocating for the community by affirming that issues or concerns are addressed and resolved
- Acting as an information channel for suggestions to strengthen our processes and procedures
- Providing opportunities for residents to ask questions and learn about our operations and activities
- Building relationships prior to the start of activity in new areas
Equitrans’ Environmental Justice Policy bolsters our efforts to provide greater accessibility to stakeholders, build stronger working relationships, and create positive outreach opportunities in our operating communities.
It is important to us, as a Company, that all stakeholders are confident in our commitment to operating safely and responsibly. To meet and exceed community expectations, we thoughtfully evaluate our engagement approach to determine what is working well, what can be improved, and how to enhance our interactions with local communities. We continually consider how to best engage the public in understanding our operations and the measures we take to maintain public safety and mitigate environmental impacts during all phases of our operations.
By systematically taking a proactive approach to our outreach and investment activities, we are better positioned to enhance our relationships with external stakeholders, achieve our overall business goals, and deliver on our ESG commitments.