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BOSTON, Massachusetts – Institutional investors in the United States, Europe and Australia with nearly $1 trillion in assets under management have united to support a set of best practices for the hydraulic fracturing of shale rock to harvest natural gas.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves the injection of a mixture of chemicals, sand and water under high pressure into shale thousands of feet underground, fracturing it to release hydrocarbons.

Energy companies engaged in shale gas fracking face growing regulatory uncertainty and increasing opposition from shareholders concerned about health and environmental problems resulting from air, soil and groundwater contaminated by fracking.

Boston Common Asset Management, the Investor Environmental Health Network and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility announced Wednesday that 55 major investors are part of their growing coalition seeking industry action to reduce and disclose all chemicals used in fracking, among other practices.