Gas firm rejects summarizing effects of fracking

A proposal calling on Williams Cos. to summarize the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing went down to defeat by stockholders on Thursday.

The Williams board opposed the measure, noting that the technology for drawing natural gas out of tightly compressed sediments is well-known and safe.

The Green Century Equity Fund filed the stockholder proposal.

“We are not asking Williams or any other company to stop hydraulic fracturing, but we do want to make sure that this drilling is done in a way that both minimizes its impact on drinking water and surrounding communities while also protecting the company’s bottom line,” said Larisa Ruoff, director of shareholder advocacy for Green Century Capital Management.

“We are concerned that our investments may be undermined by company decision-making and policies that could fall behind public and regulatory expectations for environmental protection, and we believe increased transparency is critical.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched a study on the safety of hydraulic fracturing.

Williams recycles more than 90 percent of the water used in fracturing operations in the Piceance and the San Juan basins, the board said in recommending against the proposal.

Developing a “special report on the environmental impact of fracturing and the adoption of policies above and beyond the regulatory requirements is unnecessary, duplicative and would not be value adding,” the board said in its response.


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