North American Oil & Gas Pipelines

OCT 2018

North American Oil & Gas Pipelines covers the news shaping the business of oil and gas pipeline construction and maintenance in North America, including pipeline installation methods, integrity management innovations and managerial strategies.

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20 North American Oil & Gas Pipelines | OCTOBER 2 018 Aydt says, is for companies involved in the pipeline industry to educate its employees "about the challenges facing our industry and empower them to ad- vocate for pipelines in their communi- ties when needed." Early last year, MPL started its "E 2 - Engaged in Energy" initiative, which is an internal company program aimed at educating employees on the benefits of oil, providing a global energy perspective and sharing with the public the benefits of oil and pipelines. "We use our E 2 - Engaged in Energy platform to communicate advocacy mes- sages on pipelines, as well as the larger energy advocacy," he says. "In short, it's an initiative to engage MPL employees in understanding the benefits of petroleum and the global view of energy so that we can engage in the conversation and be- come advocates for our industry." MPL also integrates this "energy cham- pions" message into all public awareness and engagement activities it conducts. "Some examples include taking our message into the schools with fun and interactive programs for students," Aydt says. "We also include advocacy efforts on pipelines and the benefits of petro- leum in our landowner communications and 811 events and correspondence. Last, we engage the public and emergency re- sponders at local events to offer addition- al educational opportunities." Hello, Neighbor One of the greatest resources available to companies and trade associations are the people who work in the oil and gas pipeline industry. These everyday folks can help provide a more personal con- nection to the pipeline industry for their friends and neighbors. "Employees and their stories are a valuable and underused resource for ad- vocacy," Aydt says. "Every individual has a trusted circle of influence. By sharing their story and providing an informed opinion to others, they can impact change and assure all sides of the issue are considered. When we educate our employees and others, they are more confident in their position and are more willing to speak up for our industry and the good it does for society. "Our employees live, work and raise families in the communities where our industry is under fire, and their perspec- tives and voices need to be heard." The PLCA is relative newcomer to the pipeline advocacy coalition, says Rob Riess, president of the PLCA and vice president and pipeline division manager at Henkels & McCoy Inc. His- torically, the association was primarily focused on negotiating industry labor agreements with the four craft unions that make up the industry's work- force: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), In- ternational Union of Operating Engi- neers (IUOE) and the United Associa- tion of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (UA). However, changes in the indus- try led the PLCA to become a more active participant in supporting the pipeline industry. "Our industry is facing enormous challenges that affect our ability to plan and execute our projects as effi- ciently as we have in the past," Riess says. "Today, we are losing the ability to control and perform our work. In- creasingly, we find ourselves head-to- head with powerful adversarial groups compelling the PLCA to take a stronger stand for the pipeline advocacy." The association recognized a need for the pipeline industry to work more close- ly together, says Elizabeth Worrell, who joined the PLCA in 2017 and assumed the role of managing director and chief legal counsel in January. "This is an all-hands-on-deck kind of moment," she says. "The pipeline indus- try is facing challenges on so many lev- els, from a political standpoint, regulato- ry concerns, grassroots activism and the media. There may have been a time when the industry did not coordinate, when it was everyone for themselves, but we all have to be working together now." The PLCA is now trying to better pro- mote the work it does and educate the public about the positive impacts of the pipeline industry. "We have to work to support the in- dustry, and the industry needs to make the case for pipelines," Worrell says. "The PLCA felt we had to be part of this coali- tion and do our part to protect and grow the industry. We want to get out and ed- ucate people about who we are, and let them know we're a credible voice in the pipeline industry, that we're focused on the best interests of the industry and the best interests of the people who work in pipeline-related jobs each day. We work with our members to develop and pro- mote safety, quality, environmental com- pliance, etc. We have to continue to work together on industry initiatives and legis- lative and regulatory strategies and find ways to promote the good things the in- dustry does. We have a good story to tell. We have to do a better job of telling it." One story that Worrell believes doesn't get told enough is the economic impact of the pipeline industry on local commu- nities and the national economy. "It's something we won't hear from the opposition," she says. "What people don't realize is that there's a whole supply chain, with businesses and workers all over the country, who form the backbone of the industry. The jobs we create, the important construction and infrastruc- ture work that our members perform and our commitment through the PLCA's partnership with industry trade unions to provide our workers fair pay, the saf- est working conditions possible and ex- Pipeline advocacy takes many forms, whether it's making the case on Capitol Hill or interacting with the public. Here, API takes the opportunity to discuss its valuable programs and standards at conferences.

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