POGO Calls for Removal of American Petroleum Institute (API) from Transparency Group (USEITI)

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February 1, 2017 | By: Ari Goldberg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Ari Goldberg (agoldberg@pogo.org; 240.678.9102)

February 1, 2017

WASHINGTON—On behalf of civil society groups, The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) today formally requested the removal of the American Petroleum Institute (API) from the United States Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI), which is part of an international effort to promote open and accountable management of natural resources.

During a meeting of the multi-stakeholder group, in which POGO is a participating member, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian said API’s current effort to kill a key anti-corruption measure in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act known as the Cardin-Lugar Provision or Section 1504:

“.... is particularly galling, in that in their fact sheets, API uses their participation in USEITI as evidence that they believe in transparency. In those same documents API claims the disclosures required by 1504, which are complementary to EITI standards, are anti-competitive, even though their competitors are held to the same standards through the EU and Canadian rules. In other words, they never intended to support disclosure of taxes by company or project level reporting of other revenue streams.”

“.... It is simply unacceptable for API to continue to benefit from the goodwill generated from their boasting of their participation in USEITI while at the same time actively working to directly undermine our success. As a result, civil society is formally requesting that the DFO (Designated Federal Officer) remove API from the MSG (multi-stakeholder group) [of USEITI members].”

See also: POGO Fights House Attempt to Gut Anti-Corruption Law

Transcript of Danielle Brian’s full remarks:

Today the House and possibly the Senate are preparing to vote on whether to disapprove the Cardin-Lugar 1504 rule. As all of you who have been working on USEITI know, we have been waiting for months, years, for that rule to be finalized so that we could move forward with our work. 1504 is the cornerstone of USEITI and civil society vociferously objects to its gutting.

During these past years we have been told repeatedly that industry will not voluntarily disclose more than what is required of them by law. To be fair, despite that, several companies have honored the spirit of EITI and have gone beyond what was already legally required and disclosed their tax payments even before 1504 was implemented. And we thanked those companies by name in the last report. And we have been punting on the basic EITI requirements of tax disclosure and project level reporting because we were told we had to wait for the rule before we could do more.

I now ask our government and industry colleagues to please join me in expressing our opposition to the misguided effort to disapprove the rule. If any of the companies who have already supported the disclosure of taxes and project level reporting are willing to make their voices heard now, before the House and Senate vote, we might be able to prevent the loss of this anti-corruption measure.

We in civil society believe that the lobbying effort by the American Petroleum Institute to kill the 1504 rule is particularly galling, in that in their fact sheets, API uses their participation in USEITI as evidence that they believe in transparency. In those same documents API claims the disclosures required by 1504- which are complementary to EITI standards - are anti-competitive- even though their competitors are held to the same standards through the EU and Canadian rules. In other words, they never intended to support disclosure of taxes by company or project level reporting of other revenue streams.

We know that Aaron has been working hard on USEITI and he is not personally responsible for the positions of his employer, but it is simply unacceptable for API to continue to benefit from the goodwill generated from their boasting of their participation in USEITI while at the same time actively working to directly undermine our success. As a result, civil society is formally requesting that the DFO remove API from the MSG.

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