Earlier this year, in response to As You Sow’s shareholder proposal, ExxonMobil committed to providing increased transparency about the community and environmental risks associated with its hydraulic fracturing practices. As You Sow agreed to withdraw our resolution after Exxon promised to address how it manages risk for 26 key performance indicators from our 2013 report Disclosing the Facts: Transparency and Risk in Hydraulic Fracturing (published in conjunction with partners Green Century, Investor Environmental Health Network, and Boston Common).
When Exxon finally released its report, however, it failed to provide specifics that shareholders and impacted communities need, focusing instead on its belief that fracking is completely safe. “Exxon discussed general practices, but failed to provide concrete information on whether it is actually reducing the risks and impacts at each well where it is fracking,” said Danielle Fugere, President, As You Sow. “Discussions of how fracking operations might be safe in a perfect world are meaningless as are references to ‘industry studies.’ Concrete data on Exxon’s air emissions from its actual wells; testing of its water impacts before and after fracking; specific information on its water use and sourcing; amount of methane releases based on regular monitoring of all its wells; comprehensive data on road impacts; specifics of whether and how community complaints are addressed — this is the information that tells the real story of environmental harm and shareholder risk.”
Companies engaging in fracking without transparency risk harm to people and environment, legal liabilities, reputational damage, and even bans and moratoriums forcing production to shut down. This past election resulted in new moratoria going into effect, including in Texas.
As You Sow, in collaboration with our partners, will soon be releasing Disclosing the Facts 2014, an update to last year’s report, benchmarking the practices of 30 companies on a range of key performance metrics, operational impacts, and mitigation efforts. Visit www.disclosingthefacts.org for more information.