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Data on Oil, Gas, Mining Projects Often Incomplete, Missing or Inaccessible

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There is a glaring lack of data available to the public about the impacts of the drilling and mining of oil, gas and minerals on public lands, according to a Project On Government Oversight survey of people who live and work in areas where extractive activities take place.

Finding data on extractive activities can be a difficult proposition at best, and often leaves people who live and work in these areas with too little information on environmental impacts, worker safety, and company ownership and revenues, the POGO survey found.

The government should publish data on extractive industry revenues at the “lease-level,” and pinpoint the exact location the data is coming from, which would make it easier to follow the money and to hold the government and industry accountable, according to the 33 survey respondents. Currently, the federal government publishes annual revenue data from extractive activities at the state level. Nearly all survey respondents said this level of transparency is not enough, and that they have a hard time tracking down the specific data they need..

POGO’s survey is part of an ongoing federal process to determine what level of data on extractive industries would be useful to the public. This question is especially relevant now, as the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to release new rules next year on mandatory company revenue disclosure, and the Interior Department is spearheading the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which calls for similar disclosures.

The findings of this survey are so important because they show there's a real public demand coming from all over the country for greater natural resources revenue transparency. The federal government manages public lands on behalf of all Americans, but the public still has to jump through hoops to get what little data is available on the resources extracted from these lands. We deserve to be better informed.

Read POGO's report on the survey here.

Image from the Orange County Archives.

By: Mia Steinle
Investigator, POGO

Mia Steinle, Investigator Mia Steinle is an investigator for the Project On Government Oversight and the civil society coordinator for the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Her work focuses on government management of the oil, gas, and mining industries.

Topics: Energy and Natural Resources

Related Content: Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative - EITI

Authors: Mia Steinle

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