Exxon Supports Methane Regulation

Investors encourage ExxonMobil to follow through on its commitment to advocate for sound methane policy.

In the final week for public comment on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to roll back existing methane regulations, ExxonMobil submitted a formal comment supporting the need for strong methane policy.

This action came two weeks after the company received a letter sent on behalf of 61 investors representing $1.9 trillion in assets under management. The letter requested that ExxonMobil follow through on its commitment to advocate for sound methane policy. Investors have also expressed opposition to the proposed rollbacks by directly commenting to the EPA.

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Shareholder groups like As You Sow have engaged Exxon on methane for years, including the filing of a 2017 shareholder proposal that received a strong 39% vote. Investors have been pleased by notable progress made by Exxon on this issue — the company has taken important actions such as setting a methane reduction target and joining voluntary initiatives such as the methane Guiding Principles and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, which recently set a group-wide methane target.

The progress made by companies like Exxon is under threat by the Trump Administration’s proposed rollbacks. The proposed weakening of standards providing for cost effective methane emissions reductions and monitoring concern investors; not only will valuable product be lost to flares and venting, but the material risk of climate change will increase as the oil and gas industry backs away from current standards.

“Reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations is a critical, cost effective action in the fight to maintain a livable planet,” said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow. “The proposed loosening of methane regulations will not only harm the climate, but does the industry no favors. In a competitive global oil market, low carbon energy is increasingly a marker of value. Exxon’s statement in support of sound regulations underscores the unreasonableness of the proposed rollbacks.”