After more than a year of delays, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced this Monday that a vote will be held on August 22 to adopt final rules for Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act. This provision requires all oil, gas, and mining companies listed in the U.S. to disclose in a public document the payments they make to governments for each project in the countries where they operate. ERI's partners and the communities we work with in Burma and elsewhere hope to use this information to understand the value of the natural resources that are taken from their land, to hold their governments responsible for responsible management of the revenues, and to seek a fair share of the benefits.
When the Dodd-Frank Act was enacted in July, 2010, Congress gave the SEC 270 days to issue rules for Section 1504. Those rules are now more than one year overdue; in May, ERI filed a lawsuit on behalf of Oxfam America -- a key backer of Section 1504 -- to compel the SEC to promptly finalize the rules. The SEC has also received inquiries from a growing chorus of prominent figures, including at least five Senators, over fifty U.S. Representatives, George Soros, and Bill Gates, urging swift action consistent with congressional intent.
While this is the first time the SEC has actually scheduled a date for a vote, it has repeatedly published -- and missed -- self-imposed deadlines to finalize the rules. While we hope the vote will proceed as scheduled next month, our lawsuit on behalf of Oxfam will continue until a rule is actually adopted.