November 7, 2016|By Chris Springer

In my role as project director with one of the largest energy infrastructure operators in the country, I can attest to the importance of collaboration.

A big part of my job is internally coordinating the collaborative efforts of hundreds of engineers, survey crews, environmental scientists and construction personnel needed to successfully install energy infrastructure.  

At the same time, external collaboration is equally critical. At Williams, we work closely with regulators, permitting agencies, communities and affected property owners to develop and install pipeline projects in a manner that avoids, minimizes or mitigates environmental impacts.

A great example of this collaborative approach occurred when Williams partnered with The Conservation Fund in 2014 to identify opportunities to help offset impacts from a proposed $3 billion energy infrastructure project in Pennsylvania known as Atlantic Sunrise.

The Atlantic Sunrise project is an expansion of Williams’ existing Transco natural gas pipeline, adding about 200 miles of new pipe in Pennsylvania. Once complete, the project will allow us to transport enough natural gas per day to serve the equivalent of about 7 million homes.

We understand that obtaining the state and federal permits needed to construct such a huge project will require compensatory mitigation. Our goal in reaching out to The Conservation Fund wasn’t to replace those requirements, but to create a model of collaboration that exemplifies Williams’ commitment to communities by proactively identifying voluntary environmental enhancement opportunities that extend well beyond legally required mitigation.

That’s where The Conservation Fund plays such a critical role – helping bridge the gap between corporate compliance and enhanced environmental stewardship.

ChrisSpringerWilliamsBrook Trout c USFWSThanks to support from Williams Company, restoration activities at Camp Snyder in Pennsylvania are improving habitat for brook trout. Photo by USFWS.

For the better part of a year, The Conservation Fund worked with us to develop and implement a formal approach to enhanced environmental stewardship. Their team provided us with objective guidance, using scientifically based identification and evaluation to identify natural resource stewardship opportunities within the project area.

As a result, 17 important conservation projects were identified. Together, these projects are restoring wildlife habitat along streams, preventing thousands of pounds of harmful nutrients from entering waterways, and supporting the construction of eight miles of new trails in central and southeastern Pennsylvania.

ChrisSpringerWilliams StreamAt Camp Snyder, erosion has decreased, and brook trout are now living in the rebuilt section of the stream. Photo by Donegal Trout Unlimited.

In the end, the success of this project came down to collaboration.

By Williams partnering with The Conservation Fund, we were able to more effectively collaborate with communities and conservation groups to make the strong, positive environmental impact we couldn’t have achieved on our own. 

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