Shareholder advocacy group As You Sow filed the ExxonMobil resolution on behalf of the Park Foundation, while Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and Green Century Capital Management filed the Chevron resolution. The organizations asked the oil and gas companies to disclose risks posed by regulations and moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing – also called fracking – as well as by public opposition.
ExxonMobil tried to block the shareholder proposal from appearing on its proxy ballot, but the SEC rejected the company’s request. ExxonMobil and Chevron shareholders are slated to vote on the proposals at annual shareholders meetings on May 30.
Fracking uses millions of gallons of water and chemicals, and generates substantial amounts of wastewater and toxic air emissions, which have been linked to air and water pollution and human health and livestock damage, according to As You Sow. The nonprofit says fracking can also be socially disruptive, resulting in extensive road damage, higher costs of living, skyrocketing housing costs and increasing crime incidence.
In New York and Pennsylvania alone more than 200 municipalities have passed bans or restrictions that limit hydraulic fracturing operations, which can materially impact investors’ holdings, according to Green Century, an investment advisory firm focused on environmentally responsible investing.
Earlier this month, Vermont signed a law that bans fracking; it is the nation’s first.
In December, a coalition of 55 investment firms and institutional investors published Extracting the Facts: An Investor Guide to Disclosing Risks from Hydraulic Operations, which outlines 12 recommended goals, practices and indicators for the shale gas industry. The group, spearheaded by Boston Common Asset Management, Investor Environmental Health Network and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, has a list of shareholder fracking resolutions at www.iehn.org.
Photo: courtesy of ExxonMobil