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31 Jan 2017

US Congress undoes Dodd-Frank regulations on extractive industry revenue transparency

Congressional leaders in early 2017 said they would use the US Congressional Review Act, allowing quick legislative repeal of regulations recently issued by the Executive branch, to reverse regulatory and executive actions from the last seven months of the Obama Administration.  As a priority, Congress targeted for repeal regulations finalised in June 2016 by the Securities & Exchange Commission under section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act.  These regulations require oil, gas and mining firms to disclose their payments to foreign governments.  A wide range of NGOs opposed the repeal, arguing that it will foster corruption by enabling companies and governments to hide these payments, including to repressive governments such as Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Kazkhstan; and that companies listed on stock markets in other countries including the EU and Canada are already subject to very similar requirements.  Both houses of Congress passed legislation to undo these regulations in the week of 30 January 2017.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has invited 30 companies to respond to an open letter by Publish What You Pay coalitions and several of their member NGOs on this issue.  The letter urges the companies to issue statements in defence of the SEC regulations and against the Congressional bill to undo the regulations.  The letter, related materials, and company responses and non-responses available here.  See additional materials on opposition to the repeal and the importance of these rules here.