A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Securities and Exchange Commission must finally complete a long-delayed rule that would force oil, gas, and mining companies to reveal how much they’re paying governments in countries where they extract resources.
The ruling in favor of Oxfam America is a partial victory for activists who have been dismayed at the SEC’s sluggish pace in writing the regulation, which is required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law but has been trapped in legal and bureaucratic limbo for years.
But the order stops short of setting a specific timeline that Oxfam had sought in the lawsuit filed last year, instead telling the SEC to provide the court an “expedited schedule” for completing the rule.
It’s the latest twist in a fierce, years-long legal and lobbying battle over the regulations that have pitted anti-poverty groups against some of the world’s biggest oil companies.
The rule is designed to chip away at the "resource curse" of corruption, conflict, and poverty in energy-rich nations in Africa and elsewhere. It would force SEC-listed oil, natural gas, and mining companies to file reports with regulators that disclose payments to governments in nations where they have projects, such as money for production licenses, taxes, royalties, and more.