NGOs Lean on SEC to Move On Resource Extraction Rule

By Yin Wilczek  

Aug. 4 — Nongovernmental organizations are leaning on the Securities and Exchange Commission to move quickly on a new disclosure rule for the resource extraction industry.

In a July 31 open letter to President Obama, Publish What You Pay's Africa Steering Committee asked the White House to “urge the SEC for a swift publication of the rules governing section 1504” of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Separately, Oxfam America July 14 told the SEC it would sue if the commission fails to adopt a final rule by Dec. 31.

Part of the urgency surrounding the rulemaking is that other countries—including the European Union, Norway and Canada—are moving ahead with their own resource extraction mandatory disclosure requirements. The oil and gas industry also has called on the SEC to propose a rule by year end.

SEC spokesman John Nester declined to comment on the NGOs' letters.

Dodd-Frank Provision

Dodd-Frank Section 1504 directs the SEC to require the resource extractive industries to disclose payments made to governments to further the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in July 2013 invalidated the SEC's rule in response to a lawsuit brought by four trade groups, including the American Petroleum Institute.

In May, the SEC indicated in its regulatory flexibility agenda that it would issue a new proposal under Section 1504 by March 2015.

Prepared to Sue

Meanwhile, Oxfam America told the SEC in a letter that it is “prepared to return to court to ensure the Commission promulgates a new rule in a timely manner.”

Oxfam sued the SEC in May 2012 to compel the promulgation of a rule under Section 1504. The group later intervened in support of the SEC in the lawsuit filed by industry groups challenging the commission rule.