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April 07, 2012
Regulatory Path Cleared for Fracking Resolution at Exxon
    by Robert Kropp

The Securities and Exchange Commission overrules challenge by ExxonMobil to hydraulic fracturing resolution submitted by As You Sow.


This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made it official: ExxonMobil, the largest producer of natural gas in the US, will be facing a shareowner resolution addressing hydraulic fracturing for the third consecutive year.

Last year's shareowner votes in support of proposals on the controversial extractive process averaged an unprecedented 40%. At Exxon, the vote in favor of a resolution requesting that the company report on the environmental impacts of fracking totaled 28.2%.

As the 2012 Proxy Preview of As You Sow reports, this year's proposal, filed with eight companies, "revises last year's request for a report on environmental impacts and puts in a community impact spin." The proposals request that the companies report on operational risks associated with such factors as "regulatory impacts, moratoriums, and public opposition."

Of the eight companies targeted by the proposal, only Exxon challenged it at the SEC, "contending," as Michael Passoff wrote in the Proxy Preview, "that limited information scattered throughout its website constitutes substantial disclosure."

"Informing Exxon Mobil shareholders of risks related to hydraulic fracturing does not require inundating them with vast amounts of highly detailed local information," the company stated in its letter to the SEC.

In a letter dated March 22nd, the Commission notified Exxon that it disagreed.

"We are unable to concur in your view that ExxonMobil may exclude the proposal," the letter stated. "Based on the information you have presented, it does not appear that ExxonMobil's public disclosures compare favorably with the guidelines of the proposal."

Shareowners will vote on As You Sow's proposal on hydraulic fracturing at ExxonMobil's annual general meeting, to be held on May 30th.

 

 
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