Journal Article

The United States joins EITI: a case study in theory and practice

Richard A. Fineberg

in The Journal of World Energy Law & Business

Volume 7, issue 1, pages 46-62
Published in print March 2014 | ISSN: 1754-9957
Published online January 2014 | e-ISSN: 1754-9965 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jwelb/jwt030
The United States joins EITI: a case study in theory and practice

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In September 2011, President Barack Obama announced that the USA would implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global movement that seeks to give citizens of resource-rich nations the economic information and understandings they need to formulate public policy. Two years later, it is not yet clear whether the USEITI (US EITI) Multi-Stakeholders Group (MSG)—a group of 21 selected representatives from government, industry and civil society who are responsible for overseeing US EITI actions—can fulfil the promise of the global EITI and the US President.

In the USA, information at the project level is limited by commercial confidentiality, while limitations on federal income tax disclosures and the absence of state revenue data handicap pursuit of comprehensive economic compilations that are essential to informed policy deliberations. Unresolved issues before the US MSG include the need to provide the public with information that is both project-specific and comprehensive. US EITI MSG performance to date suggests that the civil sector, operating at a knowledge handicap compared with its industry and government counterparts, lacks the resources necessary to work out critical details in a manner that would protect the public interest.

Using US EITI MSG records on US national data and the state of Alaska’s experience with oil and gas as empirical reference points, this article examines the gap between theory and practice that plagues the ongoing deliberations as the USA prepares its formal application to join the global EITI movement, and offers recommendations to help close that gap.

Journal Article.  7984 words. 

Subjects: Environment and Energy Law

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