April 2, 2019 / 8:24 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. regulator rules out Exxon shareholder vote on climate resolution

April 2 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp is not required to let its shareholders vote on setting greenhouse gas targets, the Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday, agreeing with the company's request to reject the proposal.

Exxon in late January asked the SEC for permission to bar a proposal calling on the company to set targets "aligned with the greenhouse gas reduction goals established by the Paris climate agreement." Exxon argued the resolution was misleading and an attempt to interfere with its management responsibilities.

"The proposal would micromanage the company by seeking to impose specific methods for implementing complex policies in place of the ongoing judgments of management," SEC Special Counsel Courtney Haseley wrote.

Church Commissioners for England and New York State, which submitted the proposal and previously submitted other climate-change resolutions to the company, said they are considering their next steps.

"The SEC's ruling is a bump in the road, but as long-term investors determined to protect the value of our portfolio, we are not going away. We will continue to press Exxon, and others, on climate risk and consider all options available to us in our next steps,” New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said in a statement. (Reporting by Gary McWilliams Editing by Susan Thomas)

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