Right now the American Petroleum Institute is waging a legal battle in Washington to block key sections of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act– passed by Congress and signed by President Obama– that requires oil companies to divulge what they pay governments.
Some of the same companies supporting the suit, like Chevron, are also say they support the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, which is meeting in Sydney this week to promote more disclosure of oil, gas, and mineral resource revenues.
Chevron’s page on the EITI web site says “Chevron believes that the disclosure of revenues received by governments and payments made by extractive industries to governments could lead to improved governance in resource-rich countries. The transparent and accurate accounting of these funds contributes to stable, long-term investment climates, economic growth and the well-being of communities… Our commitment to promoting revenue transparency in (sic) reflected in our participation in the multistakeholder Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Chevron, which continues to support the efforts of the Oslo-based EITI Secretariat, was elected to serve as a full member of the EITI board in 2009.”
OK so we are asking: Does Chevron support resource revenue transparency or not, and if so why has the company not publicly disavowed its support of the API law suit?
Right now we are calling on Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell to drop their support of the API suit. You can help: Check out our new video, share it through your social networks, and take the action to call on Big Oil companies to be honest, support resource revenue transparency, and drop the law suit in Washington.
As we’ve posted here and written in our magazine (p. 7), Ghana civil society organizations have gained substantial ground in collaborating with their government to promote transparency in oil revenue. They can now see what taxes, royalties, and other payments the government collects, and monitor where that money is spent.
Here at Oxfam we have worked hard to support the work in Ghana to build a culture of transparency and good governance. We’ve complemented this work in Ghana with our advocacy in the US for the payment transparency provisions in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (p. 8). These provisions are under threat in a law suit by the American Petroleum Institute (the lobbying arm of the US oil industry), which is seeking to block that entire section of Dodd-Frank, legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.
What are the oil companies y trying to hide? This is the question posed by Boakye Dankwa Boadi in a video we released last week. The efforts of Mr. Boadi and others in Ghana to promote transparency and responsible governance are under threat. He sees legislation like Dodd-Frank as a measure that will help them check the money coming in to the government with payments reported by the companies themselves. He says this will help Ghana “cross the path of poverty” to becoming a more developed nation.
James Bogoloh (right), an elected member of the District Assembly in Jomoro in western Ghana, talking with Solomon Kusi Ampofo, who works with Oxfam's partner organization Friends of the Nation. Photo by Anna Fawcus/Oxfam America.
Out in Jomoro district in western Ghana, James Bogoloh is looking at what passes for a road through dense forest between two villages near his home in Takinta. He pronounces it “deplorable.” “If it rains it is just not passable,” he says, as a motorcycle carrying two men, one holding a machete carefully off to the side, bounces and sputters past. Bogoloh shows us a concrete structure meant to bridge a low, wet area, and says that the contractor is about to start grading the road surface.
Bogoloh is an elected representative and a volunteer community monitor who is working with Oxfam’s partner Friends of the Nation to teach local people how to ensure that government money from oil and mining revenues is used to improve their lives. His efforts in Jomoro are complemented by a national coalition advocating for better laws to promote transparency of resource revenues, so citizens can see where their national wealth goes.
Congress passed it, President Obama signed it, but two years later we still do not have the rules that will implement the key “Cardin-Lugar” transparency requirements in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is responsible for producing the rules oil, gas, and mining companies will follow to disclose payments to governments in exchange for resources.
The objective of the campaign is to encourage strong rules that will respect the law and honor the intent of Dodd-Frank: make payments by oil, gas, and mining companies to governments public so that people in poor communities producing precious natural resources can get a sense of where all the money goes.
Oxfam America is a member of Oxfam, an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in 94 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.
Oxfam America is a 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent allowable under the law.