Support the Energy Security Through Transparency Act of 2009
March 1st, 2010
The ESTT Act requires gas, oil and mineral companies registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange to disclose payments to foreign governments for the commercial extraction of oil, natural gas and minerals.
The measure was introduced by Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), along with co-sponsors Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI). This bill is currently in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee.
Why is the bill necessary for people in developing nations and investors in developed nations?
There is a culture of revenue corruption, embezzlement and mismanagement in the oil and gas and mining industries. Oil supplied by developing countries, especially Africa and Latin America, to the United States is characterized by a lack of transparency, corruption and control by military regimes and political elites which have contributed to internal conflicts and high poverty rates.
The Missionary Oblates JPIC office welcome the introduction of the Energy Security through Transparency Act of 2009 (S.1700) as a vital step toward bringing transparency to the extractive industries sector in developing countries where secrecy in natural resource revenues weakens the fight against poverty and HIV/AIDS. This bill would help investors in developed nations such the U.S.-based Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), where Missionary Oblates are members to hold international oil and gas companies more accountable.
Which companies will be covered by the ESTT Act?
This ESTT Act would require country by country reporting of businesses engaged in extractive industries. The bill would cover both US and a majority of international extractive companies, including those based in Africa, Europe, China, Brazil, Australia and Asia that are listed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The ESTT Act is significant step towards transparency in extractives industries for developing nations because it will empower ordinary people and civil society organizations with access to basic information concerning extractive industry revenue. This is critical in order to hold governments and international companies accountable. The ESTT Act would also help identify companies that shift profits among their subsidiaries in order to avoid paying taxes in countries of operation, thereby denying developing countries needed revenue to combat poverty.
A hearing, “Keeping Foreign Corruption out of the United States: Four Case Histories” was held in February by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee On Investigations (PSOI); which analyzed cases involving political officials and individuals from Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Nigeria, and Gabon. This hearing coincided with a 330-page report “Keeping Foreign Corruption out of the United States: Four Case Histories,” that detailed how officials in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria funneled millions of dollars into the US with the help of facilitators. This enables corrupt officials to steal their countries’ wealth, denying their citizens vital resources that should be used for health care, education, and essential economic development.
The Energy Security through Transparency Act of 2009 (S.1700) has being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. To make sure this bill (S.1700) remains a priority on the congressional agenda, you are invited to get involved by asking your Senator to co-sponsor the Energy Security through Transparency Act of 2009 (S.1700).