Press Statement: POGO Condemns U.S. Withdrawal from International Transparency Initiative
Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior withdrew the United States from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the international initiative that requires governments to publicly disclose their revenues from oil, gas, and mining assets, and for companies to make parallel disclosure so taxpayers know they are getting every dollar due to them for extraction on public lands.
The United States first endorsed EITI in 2004 under President Bush and committed to implementing the EITI standard in 2011 under President Obama. As a result of the U.S. commitment, a multi-stakeholder group was created that included representatives from government, industry, and civil society, which operated on a consensus basis to report to the public comprehensive information about the management of the country’s resources, including how much it collects in royalties--which is one of the U.S. government's largest sources of income.
The USEITI advisory committee convened 21 meetings from February 2013 until February 2017. In May, Secretary Zinke suspended the activities of all Interior Department advisory groups while they underwent review. The USEITI advisory committee has not met since.
Below is a statement from POGO Executive Director and Civil Society Chair of USEITI, Danielle Brian:
The government is suggesting that U.S. laws restrict companies from revealing information, including taxes, but this is not the truth. The government is perpetuating a false narrative created by the oil and gas industries that protect themselves and not the American people.
Today’s move by the Department of the Interior is a major step backwards in transparency and will result in the public not knowing if they are getting every dollar due to them from the extraction of public resources. Instead, it’s another example of how this administration is taking deliberate actions to give industry an out of proportion voice in the policy decisions being made.
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.