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Oil and Gas

'Green' investors target Marcellus Shale drillers

 * Investors want more transparency                        
 * 12 companies targeted
 HOUSTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - A group of shareholders who
focus on the environment said on Tuesday they are targeting
companies operating in the Marcellus Shale to ensure
development of natural gas does not pollute or endanger human
health.
 The shareholder proposal campaign, aimed at 12 companies
including Chesapeake Energy Corp CHK.N, EOG Resources Inc
EOG.N and Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N, was sparked by mounting
worry about chemicals used in a process to extract gas from
rock called hydraulic fracturing, the groups said.
 "There is real business risk here," said Larisa Ruoff, an
official with the $100 million Green Century Funds. "Companies
and regulators must ensure this development is done in a way
that protects the environment and drinking water."
 Hydraulic fracturing -- where water, sand and chemicals are
pumped into formations at pressures high enough to crack the
rock and allow gas to escape -- has helped fuel a drilling boom
in the United States.
 That technology and others have allowed companies to tap
vast supplies of natural gas locked in big formations like the
Marcellus Shale, which spans parts of New York, Pennsylvania
and West Virginia.
 But environmentalists and critics say the drilling
chemicals have polluted aquifers in Pennsylvania and Colorado
and can cause cancer and other serious illnesses.
 The shareholder proposals sponsored by Green Century Funds
and the Investor Environment Health Network ask companies to
increase transparency about the effect of their drilling on the
environment and encourage companies to switch to less-toxic
hydraulic fracturing fluids.
 The oil and gas industry says the process is safe, and
there has never been a documented case of ground water
contamination because of hydraulic fracturing.
 "Ultimately the facts are going to bear out," said Tom
Price, a spokesman for Chesapeake Energy. "I think that is all
we can do, is to continue to point to the facts."
 Chesapeake holds the largest number of drilling leases in
the Marcellus along with its partner Statoil ASA STL.OL.
 Still, opponents are becoming more vocal. On Monday, New
York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he opposed natural gas
drilling in the city's upstate watershed, saying it posed too
many risks. [ID:nN25192911]
 Ruoff said she has heard back from several of the companies
about the proposals, but she declined to name them.
 (Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston, editing by Matthew
Lewis)


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