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Investors Ask Nine Oil and Gas Companies to Address the Risks of Hydraulic Fracturing

Domini and other investors have filed shareholder resolutions asking nine oil and gas companies to address the risks of hydraulic fracturing. Domini is the lead filer with Southwestern Energy, and joined other investors in filing with Anadarko. Resolutions were filed by other investors with ExxonMobil, Chevron, Ultra Petroleum, El Paso, Cabot Oil & Gas, Energen and Carrizo Oil & Gas. Dialogues with a number of these companies are already underway.

According to a press release from the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN), the organization coordinating this effort, "Use of hydraulic fracturing, which involves high-pressure injection of water, chemicals and particles deep underground to break up shale formations and release trapped natural gas, has escalated." Domini is a member of the steering committee of the IEHN, a coalition of investment managers with more than $41 billion in assets.

Environmental risks of "fracking," said the press release, "stem largely from poor well-construction practices, which can lead to drinking water contamination, well blowouts and gas leaks, and from inadequate wastewater recycling and management practices. Concerns about water contamination incidents are growing as operations expand, creating reputational and litigation liabilities for companies."

As of December 31, 2010, Anadarko Petroleum, Energen, and Southwestern Energy represented < 0.01%, 0.26%, and 0.36%, respectively, of the Domini Social Equity Fund’s portfolio. Cabot Oil & Gas, Carrizo Oil & Gas, Chevron, El Paso, ExxonMobil, and Ultra Petroleum were not held by any of the Domini Funds as of 12/31/2010.