ENVIRONMENT: Update: Oregon Steel Mills Revisited, March 1993
SOCIAL TOPICS (Archive): ENVIRONMENT
Update: Oregon Steel Mills Revisited
Published, March 1993
United States Trust Co. has refiled its shareholder resolution with Oregon Steel Mills challenging the company to report publicly on the environmental impact of its operations. The proposal is substantively similar to one we submitted and argued at the firm's annual meeting of shareholders last April.
Consistent with its stance last year, the Oregon-based steel maker indicated in a legalistic response that it will probably put the resolution on its 1993 proxy ballot for a vote by shareholders rather than negotiate an agreement.
One new -- and more positive -- element in the company's communications with us this time was a separate letter outlining environmental initiatives the company undertook last year. "Based on input from you and other concerned shareholders, Oregon Steel has revised and formalized our corporate environmental policy which was adopted by our Board of Directors at our July 30, 1992 Board meeting," wrote the corporate vice president of finance.
The company also reported that it was building a plant to recycle furnace dust and that it had brought its problematic hazardous waste disposal program into compliance. Our shareholder resolution last year was prompted by EPA fines levied against the company for improperly handling PCB's.
We wrote Oregon Steel that we were encouraged by its 1992 environmental initiatives, but pressed the company to adopt a comprehensive audit and disclosure policy. We are pursuing the shareholder resolution because full public disclosure on environmental practices is itself a significant aspect of social responsibility.
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