Investor Concern for Fracking Risk Grows

Fracking releases known toxins into air and water across the U.S.

Fracking releases known toxins into air and water across the U.S.

In the past year, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and the documentary “Gasland” have focused a national spotlight on the human and environmental health dangers of the controversial drilling technique, commonly known as “fracking.” Investors are paying attention.
In the 2011 proxy season, investors clearly voiced their concern about the controversial drilling practice to companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Ultra Petroleum. As You Sow’s resolutions asking those companies for transparency around fracking policies and safety saw an increase in support from shareholders. At Ultra Petroleum, the support doubled to 42% and a first-time resolution at oil and gas giant Chevron received an astounding 41% of investors’ votes. As a typical environmental resolution would only expect about 7%, these vote results demonstrate the real concern of individual and mainstream institutional investors.

“These are really extraordinary votes,” said Senior Strategist Michael Passoff. “It took the shareholder campaign on climate change more than a decade to achieve this level of support.”

As You Sow and a coalition of NGO’s are currently conducting dialogues with several companies engaged in fracking to discuss key performance indicators to ensure the health and safety of the communities where the drilling is occurring. Notably, one company disclosed that a reduction in the amount of toxic chemicals in their fracking fluids improved their bottom line.

In the 2012 proxy season, we will be re-filing with these oil and gas giants to prevent fracking from damaging the health of communities across the United States.