Last week brought yet more evidence that investors in oil and gas companies are waking up to the risks of fracking and climate change.
Two natural gas companies, Anadarko Petroleum and EOG Resources, recently struck a deal with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to disclose the financial and environmental risks associated with fracking to their shareholders, including “probable future regulation and legislation” that could impact their operations, according to a statement released by Schneiderman's office.
The agreement resolves a probe by Schneiderman into the disclosure practices of oil and gas companies begun in 2011.
Business media outlets like Bloomberg are framing the story very much as “oil companies doing the right thing,” but it's important to note that these companies would not be doing this if they didn't feel it was in their best interest—and generally whatever keeps shareholders happy is in a company's best interest.
Bloomberg notes that the oil companies are hoping “to ease public fears about fracking after legal setbacks and concerns over water pollution.” As is becoming increasingly clear, concerns over water pollution are all too valid.
Legal setbacks are probably keeping any fracker in New York up at night, as well, after the New York state supreme court ruled in June that municipalities have the right to adopt their own rules on fracking.
So far, 180 New York towns and cities have issued a ban or moratorium on fracking.
Over the past year we have seen a growing body of public opinion critiquing varied aspects of what is now termed ‘...