Groups seek more disclosure of risks associated with hydraulic fracturing

Posted Thursday, Nov. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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North American shale explorers led by Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP should disclose more data about how they’re reducing risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, four environmental and social responsibility groups said Thursday.

The report defined disclosure as public information on company websites and financial statements. It then compared available data to 32 specific measures the report examined, such as the absence of diesel fuels in fracturing fluids, traffic congestion policy and disclosure of fines.

Canada-based Encana Corp. was the best performer, providing information on 14 of the survey’s 32 measures. Exxon and London-based BP placed near the bottom of 24 companies evaluated.

“Hydraulic fracturing operations are under intense scrutiny for potential harm to neighboring communities and the environment – from air and water pollution to increased noise, traffic and crime,” Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow Foundation, a non-profit focused on environmental and corporate responsibility, said in a statement today.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, cracks rock with a mixture of millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals so oil and natural gas will flow. Coupled with horizontal drilling that exposes thousands of feet of petroleum-bearing rock to well bores, it has revived growth in U.S. oil and gas production.

The report was released by Boston Common Asset Management, Green Century Capital Management, Investor Environmental Health Network and As You Sow.

Companies that disclose steps to reduce disruptions by fracking “will reduce regulatory and reputational risks; enhance their likelihood of securing and maintaining their social license to operate; reduce liabilities associated with poor performance, spills, contamination, and lawsuits; and thereby increase their access to capital,” the authors wrote.

One of the co-authors was Richard Liroff of Investor Environmental Health Network, whose 2011 report on fracking was the basis for the checklist.

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