CLARKSBURG — Companies in the oil and natural gas industry sprang into action after areas of West Virginia experienced devastating flooding July 29.
“West Virginians support one another in tough times,” said Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association, in a press release.
Some of the companies that helped in recovery efforts were MarkWest, Antero Resources, Southwestern Energy and Dominion, donating thousands of cases of water and tens of thousands of dollars to the Red Cross.
Christine Mitchell, Dominion external affairs representative, said the company sent truckloads of supplies to Marion County when it looked as though residents in Rachel needed more help, and Dominion sent truckloads of supplies, work crews and equipment to the outlying areas.
Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. purchased thousands of dollars worth of flood cleanup supplies, including shovels, mops, squeegees, gloves and bleach, and delivered them to Hundred and Mannington and Wallace, Mitchell said.
“With combined efforts from Dominion Energy WV shops at Goshen and Clarksburg, we managed to distribute eight truckloads of supplies to the flood victims of Mannington and Hundred,” Mitchell said.
Concerning the company’s efforts in Hundred and Pine Grove, Mitchell said, “We purchased and delivered supplies because folks could not get out — some of them had lost vehicles. There were lots of churches and volunteer fire departments that were collecting supplies, but we found that some people were in the middle of cleanup and didn’t have time to or a vehicle to go to those places.”
Dominion employees took the supplies right to their front doors, she said.
Currently in “standby mode,” Southwestern Energy is looking for additional volunteer opportunities to help as part of the long-term flood recovery, said Maribeth Anderson, the company’s director of government and community relations.
“The needs will be here for a long time,” she said.
Southwestern Energy aided communities in Wetzel and Marshall counties.
Amy Dobkin, Southwestern Energy’s manager of community relations, said the most important relief the company provided in those counties was removing debris and cooking food.
“Besides their home being completely devastated, they didn’t have electric. They couldn’t cook,” Dobkin said.
Anderson said Southwestern was one of many companies in the industry and many people in the community who helped with relief efforts.
“It was great to see our peer companies helping so much,” she said.
Alongside them in Wetzel County was MarkWest working on water and sewer system repair, said Jamal Kheiry, MarkWest spokesperson.
Kheiry said MarkWest provided three truckloads of bottled water to communities that did not have access to safe drinking water.
“Certainly providing bottled water and helping to restore the water and sewage service for the town has been critical,” Kheiry said.
Specifically, Kheiry said MarkWest upgraded some of the electrical system at the vac plant, purchased a trash pump and assisted with rebuilding pit sensors throughout Pine Grove. The company is also rebuilding two pumps for the water system. That work, he said, is ongoing.
Aiding communities where MarkWest does business and where its employees reside is important to the company, he said.
“We want to be good neighbors,” Kheiry said.
Along with cleaning materials, the company also sent in dumpsters for debris collection and provided grilled hot dogs for those cleaning up.
Antero Resources delivered the last of its flood relief Friday with a box trailer loaded with cleaning supplies, said Lisa Post, public relations specialist Antero’s initial delivery was a trailer with 500 cases of water.
Post said a contractor took a couple of dump trucks and a front-end loader to Hundred to help dispose of debris, assisting residents and the National Guard.
“We have a big impact in the areas in which we operate just with our daily operations,” Post said. “So we feel we need to have just as big of an impact when it comes to giving back to those communities.”
Blankenship added in her press release:
“Our members were heavily involved in cleanup efforts in some of the hardest hit areas, like the city of McMechen, Hundred, the village of Pine Grove and Mannington, as well as across the region. We’re proud to support recovery efforts and will continue to do everything we can.”