Nice job by anti-pipeline activist Trish L. McLawhorn (see video, below), who last night had a serious of tough-but-fair questions for EQT CEO Toby Rice at a town hall meeting. One key question, which Rice conveniently never gets around to answering:
“Are you willing to go to Southwest Virginia and hold community town halls in communities that are opposing the Mountain Valley pipeline, who are losing their clean water?“
“Would it surprise you to know that many families in my home county have lost entire farms and livelihoods because of the desire of EQT to maximize profits…that veterans who have served this country so that everyone in this room can enjoy so-called freedom have lost water in their homes and have had to pay thousands of dollars to have their wells repaired...Would it surprise you to know that entire apple orchards have been cleared, like on the Terry property, by your disrespectful, dangerous subcontractors, which have left little for the remaining deer population and affected hunting and ecosystems that…our counties depend upon to live?…Would it surprise you to know that at least one man has died recently due to the negligence of Precision Pipeline, that we know of…At least seven or eight of your excavators have toppled over down steep slopes causing dangerous work conditions for your employees.“
Rice, the “baseball jock turned shale guru,” one of four brothers who “survived the gas bust to make family a billion,” had no serious response to any of these questions. Instead, Rice blathered with nonsense like the following (quotes in italics, followed by my comments):
- “I believe that we can everything that we need to do can be done responsibly” (In fact, there’s nothing “responsible” about spewing out greenhouse gas emissions, tearing up people’s property, etc.)
- “I believe in a better way to develop gas rights, I believe it…what we do when done properly is worth it…the value of what we’re doing though this is something that I believe in. I do feel like this is why the country is is marching towards energy independence…I am proud of what we do when we do it the right way.” (Actually, the “value” of what EQT is doing is NEGATIVE value in many ways, including the fact that it’s spewing out dangerous methane and CO2 pollution, that it’s delaying the transition to clean energy, that a lot of their investments could very well end up being “stranded assets” – on that subject, see this astounding new study by BNP Paribas – that it’s harming people in the path of their operations, etc, etc.)
- “I wish people would just say it’s the fossil fuels that we want to stop, let’s not pretend it’s the hydraulic fracturing, let’s not pretend it’s concerns with the with the pipelines.” (Actually, people can care about multiple things – damage done by the fracking process, the construction of pipelines, the combustion of fossil fuels, etc, etc. This really isn’t *that* hard to understand, except of course that Rice has a powerful economic incentive not to understand.)
- Finally, asked when EQT is going to move to clean energy, Rice had absolutely no response, other than “I understand, I understand.” (Except that he clearly does NOT understand – or give a crap about – the overwhelming scientific evidence that fossil fuels and other man-made activities (e.g., deforestation, bad agricultural practices) have caused the climate crisis, and that we have to get off of fossil fuels – including Rice’s preciousssss (and highly profitable to his brothers and him) fracked natural gas – ASAP.)
Anyway, good work by the citizen activists in confronting EQT’s CEO Toby Rice last night, but an “F” grade to Rice for his non-answers, platitudes, and arrogance, as seen in the following video and in the preceding partial transcript of his remarks.
P.S. Oh, by the way, Rice has his work cut out for him, given the fact that EQT’s stock recently hit a 52-week low, that the Mountain Valley Pipeline boondoggle is now way past its original schedule and around $2 billion over budget, etc.