The Trump administration said Thursday it would withdraw the U.S. from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international agreement that fights oil and gas corruption, according to Reuters.
Under the agreement, member nations are required to disclose the revenue they receive from oil, gas and mining companies and those companies are required to disclose payments they make to foreign governments.
The Hill added:
U.S. Office of Natural Resources Revenue Director Gregory J. Gould sent a letter to the EITI’s board on Thursday announcing that the U.S. would exit the agreement “effective immediately.”
“It is clear that domestic implementation of EITI does not fully account for the U.S. legal framework,” Gould wrote in his letter.
Democrats and nonprofits criticized the Trump administration for choosing big business over transparency.
“It’s very disappointing. It sends such a terrible signal overseas for what we stand for,” an adviser at the Natural Resource Governance Institute told Reuters.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), both who led an effort to get the U.S. to join the EITI agreement in 2011, issued a joint statement on Thursday calling the Trump administration’s move an example of “Big Oil and Gas’ money and influence” and “a painful abdication of American leadership on transparency and good governance.”
“This is a disappointing, backwards step,” EITI’s board chair Fredrik Reinfeldt said in a statement.
“The EITI is making important gains in global efforts to address corruption and illicit financial flows. It’s important that resource-rich countries like the United States lead by example.”