New Pressure on Oil-Payments Disclosure
Human-rights groups are getting fed up with the Securities and Exchange Commission's refusal to provide a time frame for finishing a regulation that the activists hold near and dear.
The SEC is crafting a rule that would force oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments (National Journal magazine has much more on the rule here).
An array of groups under the umbrella Publish What You Pay Coalition, in the March 14 letter newly posted on the SEC's website, are asking the commission to publicly commit by April 1 to release a final rule this year.
The SEC is rewriting the rule, a measure required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, after a federal judge sided with oil industry and business groups and tossed out an earlier version last year.
An SEC spokeswoman did not provide a timeline for the revised rule to National Journal on Tuesday.
The rule is aimed at chipping away at the "resource curse" of corruption, conflict, and poverty in energy-rich nations in Africa and elsewhere.
But oil-industry groups say the measure, absent lots of flexibility and several exemptions, will create major costs and hobble them when competing against state-controlled Russian and Chinese firms that aren't bound by the rule.
This years-long battle has been quiet for a few months, but just might be heating up again.
TOP ENERGY NEWS
By Clare Foran (@ckmarie)
SCIENTISTS TRY TO CUT THROUGH CLUTTER ON CLIMATE CHANGE. The American Association for the Advancement of Science is out with a new report that spells out the dangers of climate change in no uncertain terms.
Our take: Clarity of language will help, but it's still just a starting point for advocates trying to make climate change a higher public priority.
POLICY MAY LIMIT GASOLINE DEMAND IN GOLDEN STATE. Research indicates that state-level policies could cut gas consumption by over 1 billion gallons annually by 2020 in California.
U.S. LNG EXPORTS WON'T COME ANYTIME SOON. The earliest shipments of natural gas from the U.S. abroad are roughly two years away, according to oil and gas company executives. (Paywall)
GREENS PROTEST NUCLEAR ABROAD. Greenpeace activists are occupying a nuclear plant in the east of France in protest against nuclear power in the country.
INFRASTRUCTURE LAGS IN ENERGY BOOM. It will cost more than $600 billion over the next 20 years to build the pipelines and infrastructure needed to transport domestic crude oil and natural gas.
HOUSE PANEL SET TO TAKE UP NATURAL-GAS EXPORTS. The House Natural Resources Committee subcommittee on energy and power will examine legislation introduced by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., to greenlight natural gas exports.
GREENS ASK OBAMA TO HOLD BACK EXPORTS. A coalition of environmental organizations, including 350.org, the Sierra Club, and Environment America, sent a letter to the president asking him to back away from allowing more natural gas exports.
SOLAR INDUSTRY REGARDS SENATOR WITH SKEPTICISM. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., may support tacking on fees to solar panels manufactured abroad, a move that domestic solar installers say could hurt their business model.
WHITE HOUSE PLANS TO TALK CLIMATE RESILIENCE. The administration will hold an event with special adviser to the president John Podesta with a focus on how data and tech can be leveraged to mitigate climate change.
NATIONAL JOURNAL ENERGY POLL: Should the U.S. response to Russia include expedited approval of natural-gas exports to NATO countries and Ukraine?
A. Yes, lifting LNG export restrictions would eventually lessen Russia's influence in Europe and erode its power to use natural gas as a political weapon.
B. No, the infrastructure isn't in place to ship LNG quickly enough to impact the current crisis, and boosting exports would raise U.S. natural-gas prices.
WHAT INSIDERS ARE SAYING…
WHO SHOULD PAY TO UPGRADE THE GRID? Given that it will cost upwards of $4 trillion over the next 20 years to modernize electricity, gas, and water lines, is it OK to allow utilities to tack on extra charges to customers' bills to pay for those upgrades? How can consumers voice their opinions as part of the process?
"We should make smart investments in upgrading the grid, and customers and utility shareholders should divide the investment in a fair way. Smart and fair–those should be the tests–just as any homeowner would decide when and how to paint their house. They wouldn't paint too often or wait too long–and they would want a fair price–and then they would do the job." —Carl Pope, former chairman and executive director, Sierra Club
CLEAN ENERGY AND COAL EVENT. The Heinrich Boll Foundation holds a discussion titled "Managing Clean Energy Transitions While Taming King Coal—Impressions from the U.S., Germany, and Globally."
DROUGHT HEARING. The House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on the California water crisis and its impacts.WATER EVENT. The Institute for Policy Studies holds a book discussion on Blue Future: Protecting Water and People and the Planet Forever.