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.
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