Exxon holders to vote on gay discrimination ban

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 | Finance News

DALLAS (AP) — Exxon Mobil shareholders are voting on measures to explicitly ban discrimination against gays and to reduce production of greenhouse gas emissions.

Exxon's annual meeting used to draw dozens of protesters from environmental and human-rights groups, but there was only a lone demonstrator outside as the meeting began Wednesday in an ornate symphony hall.

A retirement fund for New York state employees is proposing that Exxon ban bias based on sexual orientation. The Exxon board opposes the measure, saying that the company already prohibits all types of discrimination and doesn't need to add language regarding gays.

Last year, shareholders rejected a similar anti-bias measure and another on climate change.

On Wednesday, shareholders will vote on another resolution proposed by a religious group from Caldwell, N.J., to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Exxon products and operations.

Exxon is tapping tar-sands oil in Canada and using hydraulic fracturing to boost U.S. production of natural gas. Some environmentalists oppose both practices and say that Exxon should invest more to develop wind, solar and geothermal energy. The company has made forays into alternative energy sources but argues that the world will be dependent on oil for decades.

"Exxon Mobil's goal is to be the premier petrochemical and petroleum company in the world," CEO Rex Tillerson said as he discussed the company's activities.

Exxon Mobil Corp. is coming off its second-biggest profit ever, having earned $44.9 billion in 2012.

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