Occidental Shareholders to Vote on Improving Chemical Plant Safety
Millions of Americans Currently at Risk from Occidental Operations in Case of Terrorist Attack or Accident
May 6, 2010 – Occidental Petroleum Corporation* shareholders have an opportunity tomorrow to send a clear message to the company when they vote on a shareholder resolution asking Occidental to report on how it could improve the safety of its chemical plants by reducing the use of extremely hazardous chemicals and taking other similar steps.
Occidental operates chemical facilities in the United States through its chemical segment, Occidental Chemical (OxyChem). According to the company’s filings with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, four OxyChem plants put at least one million people at risk in the event of a catastrophic release of chemicals caused by an accident or terrorist attack. These plants use large quantities of some of the most dangerous chemicals in existence, chemicals such as anhydrous hydrogen chloride, and chlorine gas.
“Occidental’s chemical operations pose risks to the environment and to shareholder value,” said Emily Stone, Shareholder Advocate at Green Century Capital Management, the environmentally-responsible investment advisory firm that sponsored the resolution. “The company does not fully disclose these dangers to its shareholders, and has failed to articulate plans for reducing the number of people put at risk by Occidental’s operations.”
This shareholder vote comes at a time of heightened concern over chemical plant security and continued debate by the U.S. Congress over legislation that could require the most dangerous facilities to implement safer alternatives where feasible and cost-effective. The U.S. Army Surgeon General in 2003 called chemical plant security second only to biological terrorism for the risk it could pose to Americans.
“Adding more guards or building higher fences won’t make communities around these facilities safer and more secure,” said Liz Hitchcock of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group which has issued reports on chemical plant security. “The most effective way to reduce risk is by reducing the hazard in the first place through the use of available safer chemicals or processes.”
“The only foolproof way to address the problem is to reduce the use or storage of these extremely hazardous chemicals wherever possible. We hope Occidental will step forward with a plan for doing that,” said Erin Steva of the California Public Interest Research Group, who will present the resolution at Occidental’s shareholder meeting tomorrow.
Green Century Capital Management is an investment advisory firm focused on environmentally responsible investing. Founded by a partnership of non-profit environmental advocacy organizations in 1991, Green Century's mission is to provide people who care about a clean, healthy planet the opportunity to use the clout of their investment dollars to encourage environmentally responsible corporate behavior. Green Century believes that shareholder advocacy is a critical component of responsible investing and actively advocates for greater corporate environmental accountability. Green Century manages two environmentally responsible mutual funds, the Green Century Balanced Fund and the Green Century Equity Fund.
*As of March 31, 2010, Occidental Petroleum Corporation was not held by the Green Century Balanced Fund or the Green Century Equity Fund. Portfolio composition will change due to ongoing management of the Funds. Please refer to the Green Century Funds website for current information regarding the Funds' portfolio holdings. These holdings are subject to risk as described in the Funds' prospectus. References to specific investments should not be construed as a recommendation of the securities by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
You should consider the Funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. For a prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds, call 1-800-93-GREEN, visit www.greencentury.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing. Investments are not FDIC insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC 5/10
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