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Chevron’s latest agitation comes from the cloth

Zachary Toliver | Shale Plays Media

A collective of God’s soldiers are the latest activists to challenge the hydraulic fracturing operations of Chevron. Nuns from the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia are asking shareholders of Chevron Corporation to vote on a proxy proposal at Chevron’s Annual stockholders meeting in Midland, Texas at the end of May.

This is the fourth year running that the sister of St. Francis have filed a proposal to Chevron that deals with their hydraulic fracturing practices and assessments. Each year they have gained more support from other stock holders and are hoping for nearly 40 percent this time around.

The Proposal on “Quantitative Water and Community Risk Management Reporting for Hydraulic Fracturing” aims to revamp the assessment of environmental and community impacts by Chevron’s Hydraulic fracturing operations. The document states that, “Chevron resources fails to disclose quantitative risk metrics associated with hydraulic fracturing.”

Proponents of the proposal suggest Chevron’s future reports go above and beyond regulatory requirements by being more in-depth in their assessments of water and waste risks, toxic chemical risks, and air quality risk. Supporters advise a breakdown of best management practices and risk by geographic location, such as by the multiple shale plays the company operates in.

At minimum, the proposal calls for Chevron researchers to address quantity and source of fresh water used in shale operations by region, percentage of recycled water used, post-drilling groundwater quality assessments, goals to eliminate the use of open pits for drill-fluid storage, a system for managing naturally occurring radioactive materials, and a managing of community impacts that includes a track record of complaints of suspected impacts, and portions resolved.

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According to the Proposal proxy document, “Currently Chevron does not provide data regarding its water use or recycling efforts, despite operating in areas classified as ‘High Water Stress’ such as the Permian Basin.”

Chevron Corporation’s Board of Directors is recommending a vote against this stockholder proposal. In their Board of Directors’ response to the proxy proposal, Chevron claims they have, “in place well-developed risk management systems in its natural gas from shale development operations that help ensure water is sourced, used, managed, and protected.” The response also states that Chevron’s, “global shale operations practices are focused on complying with local, state, and federal regulations and laws, protecting groundwater, managing water use, preserving air quality, improving access to information, and engaging the communities where it operates.” Therefore, Chevron believes the proxy proposal would only duplicate their existing efforts.

The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia is a congregation of around 500 Catholic women. They engage in many projects that battle economic inequality, marginalization, and human rights violations. According to their website they, “engage in Corporate Social Responsibility in order to fulfill the congregation’s mission to “direct our corporate resources to the promotion of justice, peace, and reconciliation” and thereby to effect change toward social and environmental justice.