Investors Call on ExxonMobil to Stay Out of the Arctic Refuge

Investors Call on ExxonMobil to Stay Out of the Arctic Refuge

Green Century Capital Management, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, and Clean Yield Asset Management will be attending the ExxonMobil shareholder meeting later this week in an effort to convince the company to stay out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and to improve company policies on operations in other protected and sensitive areas worldwide. The groups have filed a shareholder resolution with the company on this topic and ExxonMobil shareholders will vote on the proposal at Wednesday's annual meeting.

The year's resolution comes amid ongoing efforts by the Bush Administration and their allies in Congress to open the Arctic Refuge through the federal budget process, a backdoor maneuver that prevents Arctic supporters from using the filibuster to block the controversial legislation. Despite the recent withdrawals of the three other major operators on Alaska's North Slope from Arctic Power, ExxonMobil remains the only major oil company still funding the pro-drilling lobby group.

This year's shareholder resolution on protected and sensitive areas was filed as part of an ongoing campaign led by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Green Century Capital Management to protect Arctic Refuge and to convince the major oil companies operating on Alaska's North Slope -- BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and ExxonMobil -- to abandon any plans to drill there. While the groups are calling on ExxonMobil to stay out of the Arctic Refuge and improve policies on operations in protected areas, the resolution specifically calls on the company to prepare a report for shareholders that would examine the potential risks involved in operating in sensitive and protected areas worldwide.

"As investors, we believe it is critical for companies -- especially oil companies -- to not only recognize the risks related to exploration and operations in protected areas, but to act upon those risks in a manner that protects the environment and shareholder value," said Michael Leone of Green Century Capital Management. "ExxonMobil is ultimately falling behind on this issue while other oil companies are moving ahead."

In response to recent U.S. PIRG Education Fund sponsored shareholder resolutions, BP has increased its transparency, moved forward with efforts to protect biodiversity, and taken new steps to mitigate operational impacts in protected and sensitive areas. In late 2003, Royal Dutch/Shell established a new policy aimed at reducing company impacts on protected areas when it took a stance against new exploration projects in designated World Heritage sites. The groups also cite a February 2004 report by ISIS Asset Management -- now F&C -- which evaluated extractive industries' efforts to protect biodiversity, placed ExxonMobil in the "On the Starting Line" category along with China Petroleum and Total.

"The fact that ExxonMobil remains so far outside the mainstream on environmental issues has given me reason to join this year's effort," said David Cunningham, an individual investor affiliated with Clean Yield Asset Management. "Most people don't want to see drilling take place in the Arctic Refuge, and I'm just trying to do something to prevent it from happening."