Just eight weeks before ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sided with As You Sow in their battle to address concerns about the energy giant’s hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations. The shareholder resolution asks ExxonMobil to report on the financial risks to shareholders from the regulatory and community impacts associated with fracking. On March 28th the SEC rejected ExxonMobil’s request to omit the resolution, clearing the path for a vote at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on May 30th.
ExxonMobil argued to the SEC that it had substantially implemented the shareholder requests. As You Sow countered with a well-researched brief revealing a large data gap between information requested and what was disclosed. For example, ExxonMobil asserted that it had no hydraulic fracturing-related environmental violations. As You Sow uncovered 156 notices of violations related to fracking operations issued to ExxonMobil or its recently acquired subsidiary, XTO, in Pennsylvania alone between 2010 and 2011.
Over 15 companies have received fracking resolutions which were supported by 40% of shareholders on average, fully double the norm. Many have been withdrawn in exchange for company commitments.
ExxonMobil is an industry laggard and is one of only two companies to receive a fracking resolution for three consecutive years.