(Dallas) In a bold move to protect themselves from mounting liabilities at ExxonMobil's Chalmette Refining, ExxonMobil shareholders are requesting that Lee Raymond, the company's CEO, step in and develop a compliance plan for the refinery. The request comes as neighbors from Chalmette Refining, armed with their own shares of ExxonMobil stock, head to Dallas for the meeting to elevate their concerns to the national level.
The community and shareholder actions, timed to coordinate with ExxonMobil's Annual General Meeting, bring attention to a facility that poses legal and financial liabilities to the corporation as a whole. The shareholder action intensifies the ongoing claims of the neighbors in Chalmette, who have long complained about poor operations at the facility. "These odors are obnoxious," says Kenneth Ford, President of the St. Bernard Citizens for Environmental Quality. "All we want is for the refinery to clean up and follow the law. It's not too much to ask."
The shareholders are institutional stockholders who own thousands of shares of ExxonMobil stock. Among the dozen institutions requesting CEO action are Trillium Asset Management, Green Century Capital Management, and a number of religious bodies, including the Brethren Benefit Trust, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur - Ohio Province, the Adrian Dominican Sisters, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
The shareholder action focuses on Chalmette Refining's long history of violating the Clean Air Act and its growing legal liabilities. Among the concerns:
Use of the deadly Hydrofluoric Acid is also a concern for the shareholders, as the deadly acid could harm a million people in the case of an accident or terrorist attack.
Chalmette Refinery has been the source of local tension for years, with residents complaining about petroleum coke dust and foul odors from the facility. In the last year local and state politicians have begun to question the refinery, an unprecedented step in this oil dominated region. "Exxon's senior management needs to pay attention and spend some of their $25 billion in profits to clean up Chalmette Refining," said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. "This situation is spinning out of control."
PRESS CONFERENCE: 10:30 AM, Monday, 12 Carroll Drive