New York, NY (Vocus) September 24, 2009
The Revenue Watch Institute urges the Senate to take swift action on the bipartisan "Energy Security through Transparency Act of 2009," introduced today by Senators Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.). The bill, which will revise U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission guidelines, is a small change that will spark great rewards in financial and political stability for the energy sector worldwide and here in the United States.
The legislation will require oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose how much they pay foreign countries and the U.S. government for oil, gas, coal and other minerals. Three other senators are original co-sponsors of the bill, including Senator Charles Schumer, (D-N.Y.), who introduced a similar bill last year, along with Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.).
Revenue Watch Institute Director Karin Lissakers said the adjusted reporting guidelines are "a win-win proposition for investors and for communities in resource-rich countries," where corruption and the suspicion of corruption frequently undermine the public trust, efficient oil and mining operations, and even national stability. "When companies publish what they pay to governments, they give investors decision-useful information, help local communities keep their leaders honest, and foster the stability that keeps investments flowing and secure," said Lissakers.
The rule change, if approved by Congress, would mark the first time energy companies were required to release raw materials expenditures on a country-by-country basis.
Sarah Pray, of the Publish What You Pay-US coalition, said the improved reporting rule is an idea whose time has come. "Citizens in the poorest nations shouldn't pay the price for their government's mismanagement of their most valuable resources. With these simple changes, Congress can help improve the lives and livelihoods of communities in the developing world while also enhancing U.S. energy security."
The Revenue Watch Institute (http://www.revenuewatch.org) is a non-profit policy institute and grantmaking organization that promotes the responsible management of oil, gas and mineral resources for the public good. With effective revenue management, citizen engagement and real government accountability, natural resource wealth can drive development and national growth. RWI provides the expertise, funding and technical assistance to help countries realize these benefits.
Publish What You Pay--US Member Organizations: ActionAid International USA • Amnesty International USA • Bank Information Center • CARE • Catholic Relief Services • CorpWatch • Crude Accountability • EARTHWORKS • Earthrights International • EG Justice • Environmental Defense Fund • Friends of the Earth • Gender Action • Global Rights • Global Witness • Globalization Challenge Initiative • Government Accountability Project • Human Rights Watch • International Budget Project • International Labor Rights Forum • Open Society Policy Center • Oxfam America • Pacific Environment • Presbyterian Church USA • Project On Government Oversight • Revenue Watch Institute • Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights • Sierra Club • Sustainable Energy & Economy Network