Environmental Update

Climate Change Disclosure

September 18, 2008

Disclosure of climate change issues is once again in the news.  Xcel Energy recently announced that it has reached an agreement with Andrew Cuomo, the New York Attorney General, to provide more detailed disclosure to investors in its Form 10-K filing with the SEC on present and probable future climate change regulation and legislation, climate change-related litigation, and the physical impacts of climate change.  The agreement is in response to subpoenas issued by Mr. Cuomo in 2007 pursuant to the Martin Act (New York's securities law) demanding information from Xcel and four other energy companies regarding their analysis and disclosure of climate change risk.  While the SEC has to date declined to issue specific climate change disclosure guidance, environmental groups are pressuring the SEC to mandate, and companies to provide, more detailed climate change disclosure, and investor relations groups such as the ISS are also carefully considering climate change disclosure issues.  Every company (and particularly those with connections to coal-fired power plants) should keep these developments in mind when reviewing their current public disclosure.

 

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