An international organization working to bring greater transparency and accountability to industries that extract natural resources accepted the U.S. as a candidate for membership today at a meeting of its board in Oslo, Norway.
The decision by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) caps a three-year application process spearheaded by the Department of the Interior and a federal advisory committee, which included Project On Government Oversight (POGO) Executive Director Danielle Brian. The U.S. advisory committee included representatives from civil society, industry and government.
“EITI is a perfect example of open government principles in action,” said Brian, who chaired the committee's civil society sector. “I'm proud of what U.S. EITI has achieved so far, and I think that the work we've done will ultimately enrich public policy discourse.”
By applying for EITI membership, the U.S. commits to providing the public with comprehensive information about the management of the country’s natural resources, including how much it collects in royalties. Royalties from natural resources taken from public lands are among the U.S. government’s largest sources of income. Last year, the Department of the Interior collected more than $14 billion in royalties and other fees from extractive companies.
The EITI standard requires governments to publicly disclose their revenues from oil, gas, and mining assets, and for companies to make parallel disclosures regarding payments. An independent administrator will reconcile the disclosures and publish them alongside contextual information in publicly available reports.
The scope of EITI in the United States will go beyond the international standard. In addition to information about oil, gas, and coal, the US. EITI reports will include information about hardrock minerals (such as gold, silver, and copper) and renewable energy sources (such as geothermal, solar, and wind).
To learn more about EITI, go here.