February 05, 2013
Shareowners Press on with Fracking Campaign
by Robert Kropp
Nine oil and gas companies face shareowner resolutions this proxy season requesting quantitative
reporting of risks associated with hydraulic fracturing and the management of fugitive methane
Nine leading oil and gas companiesóCabot Oil and Gas, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, EOG Resources, ONEOK,
Pioneer Natural Resources, Spectra Energy, Range Resources and Ultra Petroleumóface shareowner
resolutions this proxy season requesting that they quantifiably measure and reduce the
environmental and social impacts of hydraulic fracturing, according to Ceres.
The proposals on fracking were filed by a
number of organizations, including As You Sow, Calvert Investments, Green Century Capital
Management, New York City Office of the Comptroller, The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia,
and Trillium Asset Management. The resolution filed with Cabot by the New York State Common
Retirement Fund has been withdrawn due to commitments on disclosure made by the company.
Since 2009, when shareowners filed the first of 21 resolutions that by 2010 had gained an
unprecedented 40% support, concerns over the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have
gone mainstream. Risks associated with contamination by toxic chemicals of community drinking water
supplies, the disposal of massive volumes of wastewater, and increased air emissions have been
widely covered in the media, threatening the social license to operate of companies engaged in the
Century, which filed this year's resolutions with EOG Resources and Ultra Petroleum,
coordinates a shareowner campaign on fracking with the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN). "Transparency is the
first step, but oil and gas companies must now implement quantifiable plans to reduce the impact of
their operations on the environment," Leslie Samuelrich of Green Century said.
regulations do not provide adequate protection from the adverse effects of shale gas operations,"
the resolution filed with EOG Resources states. "Shareholders request that the Board of Directors
publish a set of systematic policies for tracking and responding to community concerns, reducing
the use of toxic chemicals, disclosing violations, and reporting to shareholders, on an annual
basis via quantitative indicators, the results of these policies."
"Oil and gas firms face
clear environmental and business risks, and general assurances of safety and anecdotes about
site-specific actions are not sufficient for investors," said Richard Liroff, Executive Director of
IEHN. "Shareholders want to know how companies are systematically tackling environmental risk and
community impact concerns and the measurable results of these efforts."
addressing fugitive methane emissions from the fracking process were filed with Range Resources,
ONEOK, and Spectra Energy by Trillium
Asset Management. "Given the high short-term climate impact of methane emissions, it is now an
open question whether natural gas can serve as a bridge fuel to a more sustainable energy future,"
said Natasha Lamb of Trillium. "Companies can and should reduce their emissions using new
technologies with positive return on investment."
Last year, an international coalition of
institutional investors with $1 trillion in assets under management, led by IEHN, Boston Common
Asset Management, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) called for the
adoption of best practices by corporations engaged in hydraulic fracturing. Also last year, an
international coalition of institutional investment organizations with assets under management in
excess of $20 trillion called on companies and governments to minimize methane emitted in the
"The oil and gas industry must account for its impact on natural
resources, the climate and communities," said Mindy Lubber, director of the Investor Network on
Climate Risk (INCR) and president of Ceres. "The environmental risks of fracking have bottom-line
impacts, and investors are right to be demanding better performance from oil and gas firms."