Publish What You Pay urges oil, gas & mining firms to support US law on disclosure of payments to govts. - statements of support by 13 firms
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. The letter urges the 30 companies to issue statements in support of disclosure by oil, gas and mining companies of their payments to governments, and of US law and regulations mandating these disclosures. This comes in response to action by the US Congress to undo regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act requiring transparency of these payments. The open letter to these companies states, "Country- and project-level reporting of extractive industry payments is essential for citizens in resource-rich countries to hold their governments accountable for how they use the massive revenues they receive for their finite natural resources from companies. Oil, gas and mining companies need payment disclosure to maintain their social license to operate. Without payment transparency, citizens cannot know how much money extractive companies pay to dictatorial and non-transparent governments such as in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, and Kazakhstan."
Company responses and non-responses (full responses posted below):
Statements in support
Have not responded
Anglo American [pdf]
BHP Billiton [doc]
Kosmos Energy [pdf]
All components of this story
Kosmos response & statement on repeal of transparency regulations under US Dodd-Frank Act section 1504
Kosmos would like to refer all interested parties to our long held position... Kosmos believes resource revenues are more likely to be managed in the best interests of a country if payments and receipts are made transparently, and if accountability measures are in place for the use of these revenues. Ideally, this process is underpinned by a national dialogue in which industry plays its part as a partner with government and civil society. Kosmos is committed to advocating for transparency in our dealings with host governments...
In October 2015, Kosmos submitted a comment letter to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of the SEC rulemaking process for Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which proposed requiring US-listed companies to disclose payments to US and foreign governments as a standard part of their reporting to the SEC…
- Related stories: Publish What You Pay urges oil, gas & mining firms to support US law on disclosure of payments to govts. - statements of support by 5 firms
- This is a response from the following companies: Kosmos Energy
Newmont response & statement on repeal of transparency regulations under US Dodd-Frank Act section 1504
Author: Newmont Mining (USA)
The Importance and Value of Revenue Transparency
Newmont’s long-standing practice of transparently reporting tax and royalty payments in the countries where we operate is anchored in our commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Newmont became a founding participant of the EITI – along with the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign – in 2003... Newmont has actively encouraged the countries in which we operate – including the United States – to join and abide by the obligations associated with EITI membership. Newmont also is a member of the U.S. EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group working to establish the framework for the U.S. to join the EITI... Newmont believes that revenue transparency is essential to generating long-term value... In addition, reporting those revenues according to internationally accepted standards makes that information more credible and accessible to all stakeholders.
[Newmont's response also referred to its 2013 letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, during the SEC's rulemaking to implement the revenue transparency provisions of the US Dodd Frank Act (section 1504), which states Newmont's support of those provisions and their objectives.]
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- This is a response from the following companies: Newmont
NGO coalition urges 30 oil, gas & mining firms to oppose repeal of US rule requiring extractive cos. to disclose payments to govts.
Author: Publish What You Pay Intl., 13 national PWYP coalitions, 8 PWYP member organizations
Help defend the Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule and the global extractive industry transparency standard
To US-listed EITI-supporting companies : Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, ArcelorMittal, Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron, Conoco Philips, Eni, Exxon Mobil, Freeport-McMoran, Glencore, Goldcorp, Gold Fields, Hess Corporation, Hudbay, Iamgold, Kinross, Kosmos Energy, Marathon Oil, Newmont Mining, Noble Energy, PEMEX, Petrobras, Rio Tinto, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, Teck Resources, Total, and Vale SA
Certain US legislators are seeking to use the Congressional Review Act to void the Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule (Dodd-Frank Act 2010, Section 1504). To roll back this rule would be a retrogressive step for oil, gas and mining industry transparency and for the global battle against corruption.
Country- and project-level reporting of extractive industry payments is essential for citizens in resource-rich countries to hold their governments accountable for how they use the massive revenues they receive for their finite natural resources from companies. Oil, gas and mining companies need payment disclosure to maintain their social license to operate. Without payment transparency, citizens cannot know how much money extractive companies pay to dictatorial and non-transparent governments such as in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, and Kazakhstan...
As a responsible US-listed and EITI–supporting extractive company, please help defend the Cardin-Lugar rule by speaking out publicly in its favor and urging the US Congress and Senate to maintain the rule intact.
We look forward to seeing your company statement.
Author: [opinion] Isabel Munilla, senior policy advisor for extractive industries - Oxfam America, in The Hill (USA)
...[You] might find it perplexing that scrapping an anti-corruption law is at the top of the congressional to-do list in Washington. But Congress will seek to do just that this week by voting to roll back rules to implement the landmark bipartisan Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption law known as section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act... This rule is a hallmark of U.S. global leadership in fighting corruption in poor countries. It covers the vast majority of the world’s largest oil, gas and mining companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell, as well as leading state-owned companies from China and Brazil...
[More] than 30 countries have followed the United States’ lead and passed similar laws... Reports have been published by BP and Shell and even by Russia’s state-owned companies, Gazprom and Rosneft... At a time when aid dollars are shrinking, transparency is essential to prevent the looting of much needed revenues by corrupt officials. And if the rule is rolled-back, these payments will remain a secret, possibly forever, fueling corruption, waste, and keeping poor countries dependent on U.S. foreign aid... Business professors from George Washington University and Catholic University...[conducted] a study of more than 1,500 equity securities...[which] found that increased transparency resulting from disclosures required under section 1504 lowers the cost of capital for covered U.S.-listed firms by up to $12.6 billion... This effort comes just as the Senate moves to confirm former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be the next U.S. secretary of state. Tillerson and ExxonMobil lobbied aggressively to oppose this anti-corruption rule with the American Petroleum Institute, and tried to block it and overturn it in the courts.
[refers to support for the law by ING, BNP Paribas, UBS; also refers to reports already published by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Glencore, Kosmos Energy]
- Related stories: Publish What You Pay urges oil, gas & mining firms to support US law on disclosure of payments to govts. - statements of support by 12 firms US Congress undoes Dodd-Frank regulations on extractive industry revenue transparency
- Related companies: BHP Billiton BNP Paribas BP Chevron ExxonMobil Gazprom Glencore ING Kosmos Energy Rio Tinto Rosneft Shell UBS
Author: Former Senator Richard Lugar and Sen. Ben Cardin, in The Hill (USA)
...[Some] politicians now want to...cancel a pioneering anti-corruption law that bolsters American national security, advances our humanitarian goals, and demonstrates U.S. moral leadership. The bipartisan Cardin-Lugar amendment, aimed at fighting corruption in mineral-rich developing countries,...requires that oil, gas and mining companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges (whether or not U.S.-based) disclose their royalties and other payments to foreign governments... [Many] resource-rich countries are actually poor because the vast mineral revenues breed corruption that leads to poverty, hunger and instability. Oil-rich Venezuela is running out of food and medicine. Nigeria, with vast reserves, is gripped by economic crisis and terrorism. This “resource curse” is not only a tragedy for the citizens of these countries, it impacts Americans, too. It has empowered anti-American dictators... It worsens global poverty, which can be a seedbed for terrorism...
One way to fight this corruption...is to reveal just how much money the autocrats are making from their oil, gas, copper, gold and other resources. These vast sums are often secrets known only to the governments and the international extractive industry companies who pay them. Disclosure of these funds shifts power from the elites to the citizens so they can “follow the money” and hold governments accountable. [refers to disclosure reports already filed by BP, Shell, Total, Rosneft]... [Now] Big Oil is back, seeking repeal of Cardin-Lugar so their payments can be kept secret from the people... Besides Big Oil, those most eager to repeal Cardin-Lugar are the autocrats, in places like Russia, Iran or Venezuela, with oil wells, gas fields or copper mines who want to keep the money secret from their citizens. Why do their bidding?
Author: Fredrik Reinfeldt, chair of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
The proposed Congressional Review Act resolution now being considered by Congress would overturn the SEC Rules – adopted in June 2016 – that require resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals as mandated by the Dodd-Frank...Act (Dodd Frank 1504). The European Union and Canada have adopted similar requirements.
The EITI has in recent years frequently spoken about the ways in which disclosure requirements like Dodd Frank 1504 and the EITI complement each other... Our aim is to ensure responsible and transparent resource governance and this requires multiple efforts. The SEC took great care in drafting these rules in consultation with industry to ensure that they complement the EITI’s efforts and avoid unnecessary duplication. I would urge Congress to consider this matter thoroughly, and to ensure that any action does not undermine the hard-won gains in this arena.
Human Rights Watch condemns congressional resolution to invalidate extractives transparency regulation
Author: Human Rights Watch
“United States: Don’t Cancel Oil Transparency Rule. Congressional Resolution Would Help Shield Corruption”, 30 January 2017
Republicans introduced joint resolutions in the US Senate and House of Representatives today that would gut efforts to carry out a key law for fighting corruption in resource-rich countries…The House…is expected to vote on the measure as soon as…February 1…The Cardin-Lugar Transparency Rule requires US-listed oil, gas and mining companies to publicly disclose what they pay governments for natural resources production in those countries. It represents the culmination of a…years-long rulemaking process to carry out the anti-corruption provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Its repeal would for all practical purposes gut that section of the law. The proposed resolution would nullify the rule by using the Congressional Review Act…Governments in many countries have misused natural resource revenues, contributing to massive corruption, conflict, and human rights abuses. The rule…was meant to inject transparency into the system by ensuring that companies disclose what they pay governments…
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Civil society orgs. urge UK Prime Minister to advocate for keeping Dodd-Frank extractives transparency regulation
Author: Publish What You Pay
"Threat to United States extractive industry mandatory reporting law", 25 January 2017
…In light of…your Government’s strong anti-corruption commitments, we must alert you to a threat under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to mandatory reporting in the United States. Certain US legislators are seeking to use the CRA to void the Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule (Dodd-Frank Act 2010, Section 1504), which requires oil, gas and mining companies publicly listed in the USA to publish their payments to governments. The first year of mandatory extractive company reporting in the United Kingdom…has been a real success. Similar laws exist throughout the European Union and in Canada and Norway, as well as in the USA. It would be a serious setback for global efforts to achieve greater transparency and accountability in the extractive industries…if mandatory reporting legislation in the US were to be rolled back. We urge you…to do everything possible to persuade your US counterparts and American legislators to ensure that the Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule…remains intact…
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Author: Elisa Peter, Executive Director of Publish What You Pay, in Huffington Post (USA)
One of President Trump’s best tools to “drain the swamp” is under threat from his own side.... Republican Congress members began attacking a key piece of anti-corruption legislation. This rule, the Cardin-Lugar provision (also known as Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act), was a bipartisan effort to shield US citizens and shareholders from millions of their dollars vanishing to foreign oligarchs in the oil, gas and mining sector... The “swamp” — a handful of lobbyists, executives and contractors who feed off such business ties — has attacked it for years... United States leadership inspired similar legislation in the EU, oil-rich Norway, Canada and beyond. In total, governments enacted similar provisions in over 30 countries. Today these measures apply to 80 percent of the world’s largest publicly listed oil, gas and mining companies, including state-owned companies from Russia, China and Brazil. This is a win-win for resource-rich countries too: citizens from Indonesia to Zimbabwe are using these transparency laws to keep track of the funds their governments receive and ensure that oil, gas and mining revenues don’t simply vanish into private accounts held offshore, but rather contribute to shared economic growth... Yet a handful of oil companies seeking to keep their business dealings secret continued to oppose the law. Leading this opposition was one company, Exxon Mobil, hiding behind an oil lobbying group called the American Petroleum Institute (API).