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Innovation Grants aim to strengthen STEM-education opportunities in tri-state region

grant2019PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Forty-three school districts across southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio were awarded more than a quarter-million dollars in grant funding today through a partnership led by Chevron, EQT, and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Called “Innovation Grants,” the program, now in its third year, seeks to encourage school districts, primarily in rural communities, to develop engaging programs and curriculum with innovation and design serving as the driving force behind science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics education.

“Chevron is proud of our role in producing the energy that’s providing career opportunities for today’s students and we place a high value on partnering with schools to support innovative classroom initiatives to address the region’s workforce skills gap,” said Trip Oliver, Manager Policy, Government and Public Affairs at Chevron Appalachia. “We’re committed to supporting the communities where we’re privileged to operate, and we hope these grants help spark an interest and prepare students with the science and math skills critical to in-demand energy and advanced manufacturing careers.”

Charleston, W.Va. (May 22, 2019) – As the state works to address declining road conditions, West Virginia’s natural gas industry spent more than $110 million over the last five years (2014- 2018) on road upgrades, maintenance and design. In 2018 alone, the industry spent more than $34 million.

“As an industry we use the roads in West Virginia and are cognizant that our operations – like other industries across the state – apply additional pressure to state roads,” said Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA). “We strive to be good neighbors and have contributed significantly to road repairs in the areas where we work, predominantly in the northern portions of the state.”

WVONGA Nat Gas Stats Graphic 350x700 2Voters believe natural gas will play biggest role in the future of the state’s economy

Charleston, W.Va. (May 16, 2019) – A recent statewide public opinion poll conducted by the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) shows voters believe the natural gas industry will play the biggest role in the future of the state’s economy. 

In looking for solutions to economic concerns, a plurality of West Virginia voters (41%) believe the natural gas industry will play the biggest role in the future of the state’s economy compared to other industries, including tourism (22%), coal (20%), manufacturing (13%) and timber (2%), and 83% feel the natural gas industry is good for the state economy as it creates local jobs.

Additionally, nearly three-fourths (74%) of West Virginia voters favor drilling for natural gas in the Mountain State, including those who identify as Republican (88%), Independent (73%) and Democrat (63%).

More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents view the industry favorably --- higher than both coal (65%) and mining (61%) --- with voters living in areas with high levels of drilling activity favoring gas development by overwhelming margins (73%). 

“The poll proves what we hear and see every day on the ground from stakeholders, landowners and others who are watching this revolution: natural gas development is positively shaping the state’s economy and will continue to do so well into the future, and West Virginians recognize these facts more and more each day,” said WVONGA Executive Director Anne Blankenship.

  • Eight institutions of higher learning in West Virginia receive funds from Educational Matching Gift Program
  • More than 800 U.S. colleges and universities to benefit from ExxonMobil matching program
  • Program is primarily focused on enhancing math and science education

IRVING, Texas – ExxonMobil and its XTO Energy subsidiary employees, retirees, directors and surviving spouses contributed more than $80,000 to eight West Virginia colleges and universities, the company said today. Those individual donations were matched by nearly $186,000 in unrestricted grants from the ExxonMobil Foundation as part of the Foundation’s 2018 Educational Matching Gift Program.

Staff video by Conor Griffith

 May 15, 2019

Jeff Keffer, the CEO and president of Longview Power, addressed the 2019 spring meeting of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association to emphasize the importance of building up the state's natural gas power generation capabilities due to aging and inefficient coal power plants. Longview itself is building a solar and gas generation facility near its coal plant to take advantage of abundant supplies.

by Conor Griffith BUSINESS EDITOR

May 15, 2019

He noted the oddity of a coal power plant executive speaking at a natural gas conference, but said Longview is now in the business of energy conversion rather than just coal-fired electricity generation.

The plant’s approach, he said, is to use whatever fuel is in abundance in order to produce cheap energy.

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