PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A major energy player is withdrawing from the Allegheny Conference over concerns about the company’s future.
For 75 years, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development has brought together CEOs of the major corporations, universities, and foundations to focus on growing this 10-county region.
But now a major player is withdrawing.
“CNX cannot justify being part of an organization that gently, yet consistently, promotes the marginalization of what we do on behalf of society,” CNX president & CEO Nicholas DiIuliis wrote in a private letter to the conference’s chair, Bill Demchak, the CEO of PNC.
CNX Resources is a leader in natural gas exploration with deep roots in the Pittsburgh region.
“To view energy and manufacturing as ‘old economy’ or simply a necessary evil and short-term bridge to something better is not only wrong but insulting to thousands in this region,” wrote DiIuliis.
“There’s going to be a natural tension that occurs,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday. “Probably every industry thinks their industry is the one we need to focus on.”
Nobody from the conference would comment on camera, but Fitzgerald — a supporter of natural gas development — said the conference also supported the construction of the Shell petrochemical cracker plant.
But sources tell KDKA that some worry the conference could lose more members if it’s perceived as moving away from energy development, embracing views espoused by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to end future fossil fuel development.
Fitzgerald is not concerned about a possible conference breakup.
“The conference is evolving like our economy is locally,” said Fitzgerald. “It wasn’t that many years ago that there was no Google, no Uber, no Argo AI, no Facebook. All these companies that are coming into Pittsburgh right now are going to change the face of where we are.”
But exactly how energy plays in that future is key.