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SEC omits extractive industry rules from its 2014 priority list

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 9 Dec 2013 12:51 PM
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A view of the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Company (NLNG) near Finima village, during an aerial tour by the Royal Dutch Shell company, in Bonny March 22, 2013. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
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WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The Securities and Exchange Commission has given no hint about when it will reissue rules forcing companies to disclose their payments to governments for natural resource extraction, a key plank of the transparency movement’s efforts to fight poverty. 

In its list of priorities for 2014, the SEC did not include the extractive industries disclosure rule, known as Dodd-Frank Section 1504.   

An SEC official said the regulatory agency could decide at any time to place the matter on its agenda, but its absence from the list indicates it is not a pressing subject for the commissioners.

Mary Jo White, SEC chair, has said not all actions by Congress are in the best interests of investors, casting doubt on whether the commission will issue a broad ruling in the future.

Its lack of action means that companies with U.S.-listed securities will not be required to start reporting how much they pay governments for the right to explore for or extract oil, gas and minerals.

The SEC rules were to take effect in 2014 until a U.S. District Court Judge sent them back to the commission for a rewrite, saying the SEC must explain more effectively why it required companies to make the disclosures filed with the agency public and why it required such detailed information.

European Union countries, meanwhile, are moving ahead with implementing broad public disclosure requirements of natural resource payments by their publicly traded companies.

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