FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oxfam Applauds First Step Toward Transparency in the Oil, Gas and Mining IndustriesJun 26, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC ? As the House Financial Services Committee hears evidence in support of the Extractive Industries Transparency Disclosure (EITD) Act, H.R. 6066, legislation that would require all oil, gas, and mining companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to publicly disclose payments made to foreign governments, Oxfam America president Raymond C. Offenheiser made the following statement:
?With gas prices rising every day, US citizens wonder ?where does the money go?? At the same time Americans are feeling the pinch, these high prices are not translating into benefits for the citizens of oil-producing countries.
?More than half of the world?s poorest people live in countries rich in natural resources. Oxfam, along with members of the international Publish What You Pay coalition, supports mandatory disclosure of oil, gas, and mining revenues to provide citizens of these countries with vital information to hold their governments accountable for how revenues are used.
?This legislation would help ensure that the US does not facilitate corruption, but increases our own energy security and empowers citizens of resource rich countries to demand accountability. In the current environment of secrecy, it is difficult to hold governments responsible for how resource revenues are used, which often leads to embezzlement, corruption, and the failure to reduce poverty.
?With record high oil prices and diminishing reserves, extractive companies are increasingly operating in new areas of developing countries. According to the UN Millennium Development Project, in Africa, oil revenues could exceed annual aid needs by $35 billion in the year 2015. Given the weakness of government oversight and human rights protections in many of these countries, it is even more important that companies be transparent.
?Natural resource revenues have the power to address poverty in an unprecedented way. An open and honest system will ensure that Americans and citizens of developing countries benefit from these industries. Even small oil booms can provide large sums of money to developing country producers, and governments need to be prepared by building transparent and accountable systems for managing natural resource wealth.
?This legislation could create a global standard of transparency in one of the least transparent but most important segments of the international economy.?