Nine energy companies that utilize hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, got a message from some of their shareholders last week. The investor groups, which were coordinated by Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN), filed resolutions with the firms demanding that they work to reduce risks posed by fracking.
A statement from the investor groups points out that fracking’s environmental risks stem largely from poor well-construction practices, which can lead to drinking water contamination, well blowouts and gas leaks, and from inadequate wastewater recycling and management practices. Concerns about water contamination incidents are growing as operations expand, creating reputational and litigation liabilities for companies.
The shareholder proposals ask the companies to disclose their policies and strategies for reducing environmental and financial risks from chemicals used, water impacts and a host of other issues. The resolutions also request adoption of best management practices, such as:
• Recycling and reusing waste waters;
• Reducing the volumes and toxicity of chemicals;
• Disclosing the chemicals used in fracturing operations; and
• Assuring the integrity of well cementing through pressure testing and other methods.
Shareholders filing the resolutions include the New York State Comptroller, Domini Social Investments, Trillium Asset Management, Miller/Howard Investments, corporate accountability campaigners As You Sow and the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.
Nine energy companies were targeted. The include: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Ultra Petroleum, El Paso, Cabot Oil & Gas, Southwestern Energy, Energen, Anadarko and Carrizo Oil & Gas.
“Oil and gas firms are being too vague about how they will manage the environmental challenges resulting from fracking,” said New York comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “The risks associated with unconventional shale gas extraction have the potential to negatively impact shareholder value.”