Why It Matters to Us
Being a good neighbor and operating responsibly in our local communities is critical to being the operator of choice for all stakeholders. Although we provide significant benefits to the communities in which we operate, including direct and indirect job creation, landowner royalties, road improvements and financial contributions, our operations have the potential to create negative impacts. These may include traffic and road congestion, dust, noise pollution and potential accidents from operations, which can occur at or near any of our sites as the majority of our operations run continuously. We have increased our focus on the areas surrounding our direct operations and take a proactive engagement approach to further mitigate our impact.
Our efforts to provide a positive impact on our community center on mitigating the potential negative impacts of our business and maximizing the benefits of our operations by providing sustainable benefits to local economies and charitable support. We mitigate potential negative impacts primarily through proper assessments of sites and active engagement with landowners and local communities for the duration of our operations. In 2019, we placed particular importance on increasing the transparency and cadence of our engagement efforts with our landowners. We also strive to be a good neighbor and corporate citizen by working collaboratively with, and giving back to, the communities in which we live and operate. Our approach includes:
- Working with Communities — How we mitigate local impacts, address concerns and promote public safety
- Supporting Local Economies — Our impacts through job creation, tax revenue generation and royalty payments
- Giving Back to Our Communities — Our charitable contributions in the areas where we operate
Working with Communities
From the planning and design phase to the decommissioning of a well, we are committed to proactively addressing community concerns and other risks associated with local operations. This process involves ensuring we follow all applicable laws at the township, county and state levels, as well as addressing community concerns before we commence construction.
In 2020, we are working to build a coalition of EQT stakeholders, including leaseholders and community members, among others, to disseminate knowledge on the benefits of natural gas on communities and domestic and global economies. The coalition, known as the EQT NetworQ, will provide information and elevate issues of interest to our stakeholders, as well as empower these individuals to speak up and act as a voice for industry support and positive changes.
Mitigating Local Impacts
The size of a site dictates the amount of time required to prepare and build the site but, at a minimum, construction takes 120 days before drilling operations can commence. Prior to construction, our Land department engages with landowners near a planned site to discuss its location. 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 to understand and address our landowners’ primary concerns. This team obtains approval for construction in accordance with local ordinances through township hearing boards, which guide operational practices in the applicable community.
Access to sites can be located near or shared with community neighborhoods and can lead to temporary heavy traffic and operations near local residences, which is a regular safety concern in our local communities. When designing construction routes to sites, we carefully consider the locations of schools, recreation areas and local population. We curtail traffic on roads traveled by school buses and place custom signs along our active truck routes, alerting our drivers and contractors that truck travel is prohibited during school bus pick-up and drop-off times on township roads. These signs also alert the community to slow down and watch for children. We also widen roads, ensure the road base is suitable for heavy loads and try to make roads safer by building turnouts and issuing flaggers to help control traffic. To further mitigate these impacts on local communities, in 2019 we began consistently completing road upgrades prior to commencing operations, including roads at and leading to a site. We also began conducting proactive noise assessments. These efforts led to a decrease in road issues, traffic, noise and, as a result, complaints. We also implemented a communications process to provide neighbors within a certain radius of construction information about upcoming operations and to provide a means of receiving periodic updates.
During the active operation of a site, we provide monthly updates to local townships and counties, as applicable, and our Local Government and Community Affairs team actively communicates with communities as needed and/or in alignment with local policies. Once the well is brought online and the gas is flowing, our Owner Relations team becomes the primary point of contact for the community.
We engaged in organization-wide local community engagement, impact assessment and development programs in all regions where we operated in 2019.
In addition to seeking a more proactive approach for receiving and responding to community complaints and concerns, in 2019 we enhanced our response to and tracking of concerns that come in via our Owner Relations hotline. Through a dedicated email address and phone number, community members can easily contact our Owner Relations team members about any concerns they may have. We use a data-driven approach to resolve issues by completing assessments related to the concern (e.g., noise assessment) and collecting relevant data to determine the best resolution.
Annually, we analyze our response results to identify trends in performance, benchmark against previous data and determine any required procedural changes.
The safety of the communities where we operate, and that of our employee and contractor workforce, is a top priority. We maintain and operate equipment responsibly to create a safe environment in the communities where we operate, and focus our emergency management efforts on prevention, preparedness and response. Our Crisis Management team — in conjunction with the Environmental, Health and Safety department — provides guidance and expertise in emergency response and crisis management. These functions also develop and maintain emergency notification procedures, training and support.
Operating units develop site-specific emergency action and response plans to prepare for significant risks, and teams in the field lead a tailgate safety meeting focused on hazard prevention and emergency preparedness before daily operations begin. Our Crisis Management team also conducts annual emergency scenario drills, and we contract with experts to provide immediate support in areas such as well control, firefighting and spill response as needed.
To address and proactively respond to community safety concerns, we regularly communicate with our communities through the channels described above, and work closely with emergency response personnel, public works employees, elected officials, school districts and other key community members to engage them in the process, provide factual information, learn from them and build relationships. Most often, the awareness and subsequent conversations surround:
- Identification of the activity occurring at a local job site
- The types of equipment being used
- The most appropriate response for various scenarios
- EQT’s emergency or crisis response plan
In addition, we work hand-in-hand with local first responders, building relationships and providing trainings and site tours to ensure all parties have the knowledge needed to respond in the unlikely event of an emergency at an EQT site. During on-location trainings, we conduct mock incidents for EQT employees and first responders to resolve. In 2019, we created an “Oil and Gas 101” handbook for first responders that includes photos and descriptions for each phase of operations. The Pennsylvania State Fire Academy is adopting this handbook for their own training. We provide employee training on incident response and command structure approximately every six months. We also participate in the Southwest PA Oil & Gas Emergency Management Alliance, a coalition of producers, supply companies and first responders dedicated to safety in the oil and gas industry. The group is managed by Washington County Emergency Management Services. Read the highlight story below for additional information on how we engage with local responders.
Vehicle safety is included in both our employee and contractor safety expectations, and our Contractor Safe Work Rules include a section on safe vehicle operation. We develop a mandated Traffic Control Plan for all active sites, which we distribute to employees, contractors and subcontractors. These plans outline our specified speed limits, curfews and route restrictions. In 2019, we developed a process for tracking all employees and contractors coming on or off EQT sites to increase visibility and promote safety. We can now track worker driving behaviors to ensure they are following our guidelines, and can more easily monitor their location, enabling us to determine who was involved if an accident does occur or if we receive a community complaint. We also utilize private road monitors with law enforcement backgrounds to continuously surveil our truck traffic once operations begin. These monitors are also involved in investigating community complaints regarding employee or contractor violations.
Read more about employee and contractor safety in Occupational Health and Safety.
In 2019, we experienced zero Tier 1 Process Safety events.
1 Although EQT does not currently operate in Native American/Indigenous communities, we are committed to working with these groups if/when applicable.
Supporting Local Economies
Our operations have a significant influence on the local economies where we operate by supporting economic growth via job creation, tax revenue generation and landowner royalty payments. We track the indirect economic impacts of our business operations to better understand and communicate how our operations contribute to the U.S. and local economies by annually commissioning an independent analysis. ERM analyzed our year-end 2019 data and compiled the results into a study entitled, “EQT Corporation 2019 Economic Impact Analysis.” According to the analysis, our direct activities produced approximately $1.2 billion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, and the indirect GDP impact through our suppliers was $682 million. Our total induced impact — that is, the impact of spending by EQT employees, contractors and suppliers — was approximately $1.0 billion.
EQT Economic Impact (millions of dollars)
Further, our activities generated nearly $375 million in state and local tax revenues in 2019, supporting state and local governments.
2019 State and Local Tax Payments (millions of dollars)
|Rest of United States||Total|
Other personal taxes
|Other taxes on production and imports||$8.6||$2.6||$1.0||$4.3||$16.5|
Local Labor and Supplier Impacts
Our operations — entirely in the United States — support local economies via taxes paid, road infrastructure improvements, local hiring of personnel and suppliers, and through use and support of local service establishments. We provide millions of dollars in royalty payments to our landowners and sustain local jobs for employees, contractors and suppliers to support our daily operational activities. In addition to our direct employees, we supported approximately 21,260 ancillary jobs through our operations in 2019. This includes direct contractors — who make up most of our visible workforce — suppliers and supply chain employees who support our production, gathering and transmission activities. Employment contributions also include the earnings spent by those employees, contractors and suppliers — or the induced impact — which drives employment in sectors providing various goods and services to the communities where EQT and our contractors and suppliers operate and live.
Estimated U.S. Labor Impacts (number of jobs)
1 Other states include de minimis direct benefits and the broader indirect economic benefit from our activities as a result of our directly receiving goods and services from companies located outside of our operating areas.
Giving Back to Our Communities
Our efforts to support our communities extends into local giving, sponsorship and philanthropic efforts through EQT and the EQT Foundation (the Foundation) — a separate 501(c)(3) organization. We and the Foundation both generally restrict our charitable contributions to organizations primarily within the communities near EQT’s active operations. We each support programs that build trusting relationships in our local communities, help educate a future workforce for the natural gas industry and keep the environment where EQT operates beautiful and flourishing.
Our Public Relations and/or Government Affairs teams approve the majority of corporate donations to local communities, following a routine review and pre-approval process to avoid support of illegal or otherwise inappropriate activities and to ensure that each recipient organization’s initiatives are consistent with EQT’s values and corporate strategy. Our philanthropic investments 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 that enable us to bond with our neighbors, enhance the quality of life for residents, educate residents about our company and industry, and provide an opportunity for our fellow community members to meet EQT employees.
Highlights from our 2019 local giving and corporate sponsorship initiatives include:
- Participation in livestock auctions at county fairs, and re-donation of the livestock purchased at such auctions, with proceeds contributed to 4H
- Headline sponsor of the Monongahela 250th Celebration
- Washington Township, Greene County Park Project
- Funding to the Marianna Volunteer Fire Company (VFC) for Stop the Bleed Kits/automated external defibrillator
- Donation of four vehicles to Bentleyville Fire Department, Cokeburg VFC, Center Township, and the Waynesburg Police
- $15,000 to sponsor the EQT Washington and Greene Counties Covered Bridge Festival in Pennsylvania, a festival to celebrate local heritage in the core of our operations
Qualifying nonprofit organizations may also apply for grants through the EQT Foundation, which are reviewed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors to ensure compliance with United States laws and regulations applicable to corporate foundations. Foundation grants complement EQT’s corporate support to build relationships throughout our operational footprint. In 2019, the EQT Foundation’s funding priority areas were Arts and Culture, Community and Economic Development, Diversity, Education and Environment. For 2020 and beyond, the EQT Foundation is condensing these priority areas into three categories in an effort to better align the EQT Foundation’s philanthropic investments with EQT’s corporate strategy:
- Community Enrichment
- Education and Workforce
The EQT Foundation gave more than $5.1 million in 2019 to support local communities; examples of grant recipients include:
- American Red Cross — Sound the Alarm home fire safety program in Pennsylvania and West Virginia
- Citizens Library — Imagination Space mobile media modules
- Computer Reach — Tech camps and computer education to elementary students and families
- The Education Alliance — Strengthening Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career exploration in Wetzel County, West Virginia
- Fallowfield Township Volunteer Fire Department — Emergency generator
- Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council — STEM programming
- House of the Carpenter — Feeding programs for Belmont County, Ohio
- Mon Valley Academy for the Arts — Summer concert series
- Oglebay Institute — Rural Arts Collaborative and REACH education programs
- Operation Warm — Brand new winter coats to children in need in Pennsylvania and Ohio
- Southwest Training Services — Pilot program for high school seniors to earn a Commercial Driver's License
- Washington County Gay Straight Alliance — LBGTQA programming in rural areas
- West Virginia Symphony Orchestra — Outreach and student performance in north central West Virginia
- Wildlife for Everyone Foundation — Pollinator Gardens and Seedlings for Schools programs
Our corporate giving, sponsorships and road and infrastructure improvements for communities totaled more than $23 million in 2019, while the EQT Foundation provided more than $5 million in grants and contributions.
EQT Community Investments
Local Giving (EQT Corporation)
County fairs, festivals, community events and sponsorships, 4-H livestock auctions (EQT Corporation)
Roads and infrastructure (EQT Corporation)
TOTAL INVESTMENTS (EQT CORPORATION)
|TOTAL GRANTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS (EQT FOUNDATION)||$6,595,000||$7,778,600||$5,111,970|