ExxonMobil, the nation’s largest natural gas producer, may finally start listening to their shareholders about hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.” Many of the concerns people have surrounding the natural gas extraction process include the fact that toxic chemical leaks, spills and explosions could harm the health and safety of communities and the environment, and that it could lead to the contamination of drinking water for communities near and far.
Earlier this week, a resolution calling for greater transparency of comprehensive data in the fracking industry — sponsored by the NYC Pension Funds and As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy group — did rather well. In the preliminary vote, 30.2% voted in favor of this resolution. ExxonMobil says that this demonstrates a broad investor demand for hard data.
The resolution in full calls on Exxon to provide:
1) Annual data on its reductions in fracking air emissions per region per year
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2) The number and type of community complaints or grievances
3) Whether the complaints are still open or resolved
4) Its goals to reduce the use of potentially harmful chemicals in fracturing fluids and systems
5) What it has done to both reduce water and protect groundwater from harmful chemicals
“As today’s vote makes clear, Exxon’s shareowners have real concerns about the risk that hydraulic fracking poses to water supplies, local communities and the environment,” added NYC Comptroller John C. Liu who filed the resolution on behalf of NYC Pension Funds.
As Exxon takes a step in the right direction, they still lag behind the rest of the industry. Earlier this year, Exxon was conspicuously absent when the Center for Sustainable Shale Development united Chevron and Shell to new fracking performance standards.
Danielle Fugere, president and chief counsel for As You Sow, commented, “Shareholders expect Exxon to lead the industry, but almost across the board Exxon is failing to provide the site specific information that shareholders, regulators and impacted communities need.”