Fracking is a human rights issue at Chevron, argue Sisters of St. Francis

Sister Nora Nash issues detailed memo in support of shareholder proposal

The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia are rallying investor support for their shareholder proposal on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at extractives giant Chevron, saying it is a human rights issue in Pennsylvania.

Lead filer Sister Nora Nash, known for her work engaging Goldman Sachs on executive pay, has issued a detailed nine-page memorandum outlining the rationale behind her proposal, due to be voted on at Chevron’s annual general meeting on May 29 in San Ramon, California.

The resolution calls for a report from the company with quantitative indicators of its progress to minimize “adverse environmental and community impacts” from its horizontal drilling and fracking operations.

Sr. Nora has been heading up the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility’s engagement with the company, as she detailed in an interview with Responsible Investor recently.

“This memo identifies the risks facing the natural gas production sector as a whole, identifies some of the risks specific to Chevron, and describes the rising public and regulatory expectations for better disclosure by companies,” Nash writes. In comparison with its peers,Chevron provides very little data on key environmental and social indicators, she adds.

“Chevron hasn’t responded to one of the real issues facing communities especially in PA since hydraulic fracturing is also a human rights issue,” Nash says – adding fracking activity exposes communities to health risks, crime, noise and light pollution, truck traffic, and skyrocketing rents.

“We encourage shareholders to vote in support of this proposal calling on the company to provide quantitative reporting.”

Also at Chevron, fund firm Green Century Capital Management is seeking support for its motion on political spending. It calls for the board to “refrain from using corporate funds to influence any political election”.

It says that given the company’s “low accountability and high spending levels”, shareholders are concerned that the risk to shareholder value is “increasing and unchecked”.

Elsewhere, Trillium Asset Management, the SRI fund manager, is rallying support for resolutions on methane leakage at gas producers Oneok and Range Resources.

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