U.S. lawmakers move to scrap SEC’s ‘resource extraction’ rule

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By Sarah N. Lynch and Lisa Lambert | WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON Two senior U.S. lawmakers unveiled
legislative plans on Monday to scrap a rule devised under the
2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law requiring publicly-traded
mining, oil and gas companies to disclose payments they make to
foreign governments.

Michigan Republican Bill Huizenga, who chairs the House of
Representatives Financial Services subcommittee on capital
markets, and Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe, chairman of the
Senate Environment Committee, took aim at the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission’s so-called “resource extraction” rule,
saying it makes it harder for U.S. energy companies to compete.

They introduced measures to ax the rule using the
Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to stop recently
adopted regulations through a simple majority vote. Republicans
this week are expected to undo five Obama-era regulations. The
full Republican-led House on Wednesday will vote to kill all the
regulations and then send them to the Senate, also controlled by

The SEC rule is championed by human rights organizations who
say disclosure of payments to foreign governments by companies
like Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron helps fight

“There is absolutely no benefit to nullifying this common
sense law unless your objective is to make it easier for corrupt
elites to steal money,” said Isabel Munilla who studies
extraction policies for anti-poverty group Oxfam.

But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups
have long opposed it, saying it hurts U.S. companies without
providing investors with meaningful, material information.

Industry groups successfully beat back the rule a few years
ago and the SEC was forced to go back to the drawing board.
Then, Oxfam accused the regulator of dragging its feet on a new

A federal judge ordered the SEC to fast-track the rule in
2015, and the agency issued a final version last summer set to
take effect in 2018.

“The SEC continues to propose a resource extraction rule
that is overly burdensome, puts U.S. companies at a competitive
disadvantage, and fails to provide investors with useful
information,” Huizenga said.

The House Financial Services Committee’s senior Democrat,
Maxine Waters, said killing the rule “is undoubtedly another
conflict of interest on account of Trump and his cronies.”

President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State nominee Rex
Tillerson headed Exxon when it fought the drafting of the rule,
Waters said. She added the regulation would identify oil
companies with financial ties to countries that have been
hostile to the United States, such as Russia.

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