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Company: EQT Corporation
Subject: Natural Gas Hydraulic Fracturing
Year: 2010
Sector: Energy Production
Lead Filer: Miller/Howard Investments
Outcome: Omitted, per SEC, on procedural grounds

Safer Alternatives for Natural Gas Exploration and Development

 

Whereas,

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the United States had 238 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves in 2007.  Onshore "unconventional production" is estimated to increase by 45% between 2007 and 2030. "Unconventional production" requires hydraulic fracturing, which injects a mix of water, chemicals, and particles underground to create fractures through which gas can flow for collection. A government-industry study estimates that 60-80% of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 stripped EPA of authority to regulate fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act. State regulation is uneven and limited; as of May 2009, 21 of 31 states surveyed where drilling occurs did not have specific regulations addressing fracturing and 17 did not require companies to list fracturing chemicals they use.

There is virtually no public disclosure of chemicals used at fracturing locations. One independent analysis of fluids used in Colorado identified 174 chemicals of which over 70% are associated with skin, eye or sensory organ effects, respiratory effects, and gastrointestinal or liver effects. Because of public concern, in September 2009, some natural gas operators and drillers began advocating greater disclosure.

Fracturing operations can have significant impacts on surrounding communities including the potential for increased incidents of toxic spills from waste water ponds, impacts to local water quantity and quality, and degradation of air quality.   Government officials in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Colorado have documented methane gas in drinking water, linked to fracturing operations. Methane gas in household drinking water supplies has caused explosions. In Wyoming, the US Environmental Protection Agency recently found chemicals that are known to be used in fracturing in at least three wells adjacent to drilling operations. 

Chemical suppliers have developed less toxic or "greener" fracturing fluids for both on- and off-shore drilling. 

In the proponents' opinion,  emerging technologies for tracking "chemical signatures" from drilling activities increase the potential for reputational damage and vulnerability to litigation, and weak and uneven regulatory controls and reported contamination incidents necessitate that, to protect their own long-term financial interests, companies must take measures above and beyond regulatory requirements to reduce environmental hazards.

Therefore be it resolved,

Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a report by September 1, 2010, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on (1) the environmental impact of EQT Corporation's fracturing operations and (2) potential policies for the company to adopt, above and beyond regulatory requirements, to reduce or eliminate hazards to air, water, and soil quality from fracturing.

Supporting statement:

Proponents believe the policies explored by the report should include, among other things, the use of less toxic fracturing fluids, recycling or reuse of waste fluids,  and other structural or procedural strategies to reduce fracturing hazards.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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