VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – May 14, 2018 – Virginia Natural Gas is the recipient of the Southern Gas Association’s 2018 Community Service Award for its Longleaf Pine Restoration Project. The annual award recognizes the most effective service or outreach program that improves the communities in which its natural gas industry members operate.
Last year, volunteers from Virginia Natural Gas, along with Virginia Beach Department of Parks & Recreation and Virginia Department of Forestry, joined The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to restore a key piece of southeastern Virginia’s environmental and cultural heritage. More than 150 longleaf pine trees were planted in one day at the Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area and Mt. Trashmore Park.
The Community Service Award was presented to Virginia Natural Gas during Southern Gas Association’s 2018 Management Conference. “The employees and leadership of Virginia Natural Gas demonstrated exceptional corporate citizenship, as well as commitment to improve and invest in their community through the Longleaf Pine Restoration Project,” said William N. Cantrell, president of Southern Gas Association.
“The Longleaf Pine Restoration Project is an important effort by Virginia Natural Gas and its partners that will have a lasting impact,” said Virginia Beach Councilman Ben Davenport, who attended the tree planting event. “When we work together to protect the resources of Virginia Beach, we are also protecting jobs and opportunities for generations to come.”
According to The Nature Conservancy, the longleaf pine occupied more than 1.5 million acres in pre-colonial Virginia. But by the late 1890s, the pine had been harvested to near extinction due to its predominant use by the region’s early shipbuilding industry. At the turn of the century, the longleaf pine occupied less than 3 percent of its original range in the southeast and fewer than 200 mature trees remained in the state.
By the age of 10, these 150 trees planted as part of the Longleaf Pine Restoration Project will have captured more than 10 tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalency), which is equivalent of taking two cars off the road for a year. Longleaf pines mature around the age of 30, reaching heights as much as 110 feet and up to 3 feet in diameter. The pines can live as long as 300 years due to their resistance to storms, droughts, insects and fire.
“We are committed to supporting initiatives that protect and preserve the environment, and are honored to be recognized for this project” said Jim Kibler, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “With the help of our company and others, our hope is the longleaf pine will grow and once again thrive in coastal Virginia.”
About Virginia Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas is one of seven natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides natural gas service to nearly 300,000 customers in southeast Virginia. Virginia Natural Gas has been recognized as one of the safest, most reliable and customer-focused natural gas service providers, and is consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates. In 2017, Virginia Natural Gas earned the Most Trusted Brand recognition from Market Strategies International’s Cogent Report™ study, and for the second consecutive year was named Local Distribution Company of the Year by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association. For more information, visit virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.
About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.6 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in seven states and more than 1 million retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit www.southerncompanygas.com.
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