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Posts Tagged ‘ExxonMobil’

The PR War over Fracking

Fracking, which is a shorthand term for hydraulic fracturing (not a polite replacement for a colorful expletive), is a process that utilizes large volumes of high-pressured water, sand, and chemicals to fracture shale rock deep underground in order to extract the natural gas locked beneath it. While natural gas itself is the cleanest of the fossil fuels, and is often presented as a “green” solution, the safety and environmental impact of the fracking process has inspired increasing controversy and conflict. A PR war now rages between the energy companies that want to expand their fracking activities and the people and organizations who oppose the practice.

Oil and energy companies have invested a substantial amount of resources into natural gas, touting its viability and abundance while also attempting to reassure skeptics (especially those living in areas atop large shale reserves) that they are taking every precaution to ensure that the gas is being harvested responsibly and safely. However, a lack of regulation and disclosure rules regarding the chemicals used in the process haven’t exactly endeared fracking to opponents; it seems like folks would prefer to know exactly what these energy companies will be pumping into their land (and may potentially end up in their immediate environment via air and groundwater). Gee, who would have thought?

Some specific and well-documented concerns include chemical contamination of potable groundwater, surface water pollution from the dumping of salty post-fracking wastewater into rivers, air pollution near fracking sites, and methane leakage. Yikes–we can see why the energy companies may have some trouble spinning this to their advantage.

Negative environmental impacts notwithstanding, fracking can have a positive economic effect on the communities in which it takes place–and that fact is the primary selling point behind the energy companies’ PR efforts.

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Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

‘CR Magazine’ Names Best Corporate Citizens

A Johnson Controls engineer examining a battery that will power a hybrid electric vehicle. Photo: Dan Irving, Johnson Controls

Topping Corporate Responsibility Magazine‘s 12th annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens List” (released today) is Johnson Controls, the industry and technology company based in Wisconsin. The company went from number 22 in 2009 to the top of the list for 2010.

CR determines its best corporate citizens based on their activity in seven areas: the environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, finance, philanthropy, and government. Overall, companies scored better this year over last.

Rounding out the top five are Campbell Soup, International Business Machines (IBM), Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Mattel. CR also notes those who are under investigation or have a judgment against them from a legal or regulatory body, which excludes that company from the list for the following three years.

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