Saturday’s Intelligencer editorial explains how new ownership at the large fracking company, EQT, cares about West Virginia. “Gas Executive Right on Values” tells us:
West Virginians are big on the concept of being good neighbors. So, when the head of the second-largest natural gas producer in our state talks about “old-school values,” we do not feel any need to applaud — because that is what we expect from other people.
Nevertheless, recent comments by EQT Corp. CEO Toby Rice were good to hear. During a panel discussion at the state Chamber of Commerce’s annual business summit this week, Rice vowed that EQT will take a new approach to many of its operations.
“We’re really talking about our values,” Rice said, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
Building trust with landowners and minimizing the adverse effects of drilling were two specifics Rice cited. He pledged to adopt a “greener, friendlier approach to drilling.” We hope he can make that happen at EQT.
What about Toby Rice and EQT? Later in the editorial, we are told:
Just named CEO of the corporation this summer, Rice is still new to the EQT culture.
No, he isn’t. As Seeking Alpha among others reported, its holdings include his old company and he's been a major stockholder:
The Rice Brothers sold their company to EQT Corporation (EQT), which made them major shareholders in the EQT Corporation. Recently a Rice Brothers-backed slate of directors won election to the board. Daniel Rice was already on the board of directors. Now Toby Rice joins the board of directors as the new president and CEO of the company.
And if you read about the proxy battle that Rice’s group won, you won’t see anything at all about “greener, friendlier approach to drilling” that the Intelligencer heralds. Instead, you can read about the promises that Rice and his corporate challengers have made to “implement better technology and revamp EQT’s organizational structure to drill wells more efficiently” that enabled them to win the proxy fight. Rice’s group will need to increase profits for shareholders. Color me skeptical, but I don’t think that means that the company will be “greener” and “friendlier.” (I would bet on just the opposite since both would cost the company money at a time when he must show increased profits.) No, that’s left for the spin that Rice and his accomplice (in this case, Ogden Newspapers) will use on the general public.
What BS. Did anybody at the Intelligencer do any research on this or did they simply rewrite a company PR release and call it an “editorial”? (I think the evidence suggests the latter.)