Corporate partnership is vital to building community strength

White Notch ReverseWhite Notch

“Community is the answer. What is the question?”

As I’ve aged and gained professional experience, I’ve found that statement to be more and more true. I firmly believe we can accomplish so much more as a community than we could individually. Make no mistake, I support the bold individualism that brought our forefathers to Penn’s Woods. I’m a proud Pennsylvanian and native of Washington County because local mills and foundries helped to build this great nation.

For generations, we have built things that matter. Big things. Important things. Our region was an integral part of the American iron and steel industry that gave us our identity. In foundries across our region, liquid metals poured into molds and the castings they produced built our nation. In the Mon Valley, those metals flowed through the veins of our grandfathers and the castings they forged fought wars and fueled an industrial revolution.

The liquid flowing through our veins today is liquid natural gas. We have a lot of it and the world wants it, even craves it. Natural gas is not only the cleanest burning of all hydrocarbons, it provides significant environmental benefits compared with other fossil fuels. In fact, natural gas has lowered Pennsylvania’s carbon emissions over the past decade.

Nick DeIuliis, president and chief executive officer of CNX Resources Corp., and a man I greatly respect, said recently that if Pennsylvania were a separate country, we would be on our way to meeting Paris Climate Accord targets. And, he added, that wasn’t because of renewables, but because of cheaper, cleaner natural gas on the power grid.

I feel it is my civic duty to care about our community. As good citizens, we also have a responsibility to educate ourselves and not react to scary words like “fracking.” What does natural gas mean to our region? The same thing steel meant to our parents and grandparents.

It means jobs created and retained, taxes paid, new businesses starting and old businesses thriving. We can grow our economy and provide real opportunities for everyone, while continuing to utilize state-of-the-art technology to protect and improve our environment.

Just as we needed Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel and Jessop Steel to be good corporate partners, we need our corporate partners to be active community members. As a member of the Waynesburg University Center for Corporate Social Responsibility, I can say with confidence there are no more generous and committed community partners than Range Resources, CNX and EQT Corp.

Why is this important? Because, I’m pro-middle class, pro-capitalism. pro-Mon Valley and pro-Pennsylvania. I am a father and grandfather. My children and their children live, work and play in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

I want them to live in a diverse and resilient economy with a safe and healthy environment. Natural gas gives us that opportunity.

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Ken Zapiniski | Director of Research and Public Policy |
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