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Exxon’s Next Risk Disclosure: Fracking

ExxonMobilExxon has made another concession to environmental groups and investors, agreeing to disclose more details on the risks of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Just days after releasing a report on the risks that climate change policies pose to the value of its assets and future profitability, Exxon said that it would report by September on how it manages fracking risks, including air quality, water, chemical usage and road-damage impacts, the Wall Street Journal says.

Exxon is making the disclosures as a response to a shareholder proposal by the New York City comptroller and advocacy group As You Sow, which was also one of the organizations that pushed for the reporting on climate risks.

But the fracking report won’t live up to all the petitioners’ demands, which included data on methane leaks.

Despite this, natural gas companies seem to be moving towards an unprecedented level of cooperation with environmentalists. Natural gas producer EQT Corp. agreed stringent enough fracking disclosures to satisfy shareholder demands. In another example, Colorado approved controls on emissions from oil and gas wells, spurred by joint effort between environmental groups and energy firms Anadarko, Encana and Noble Energy.

Last September, the Pew Research Center found that 49 percent of Americans surveyed opposed fracking, up from 38 percent in March 2013.

Takeaway: Exxon Mobil has agreed to report on environmental risks from its fracking operations, just days after the company made its first report on the financial risks from climate change.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

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