U.S. Interior Secretary to Head EITI Implementation

The White House took an encouraging step forward on Tuesday, with the announcement that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will head U.S. efforts to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Salazar's office will collaborate with companies and civil society to create a plan for company payment disclosures and improve government revenue collection.

RWI Director Karin Lissakers said, "The appointment of a cabinet official to lead U.S. EITI implementation is a signal that the White House regards EITI as a high priority. The Secretary of the Interior is the appropriate person, as the department has primary responsibility for the collection and management of oil, gas and mineral revenues on federal lands."

Writing on the White House blog, Salazar called EITI implementation a "critical component" of the administration's reform efforts:

Oil, gas, coal, renewable fuels, and minerals … belong to every American, and every American deserves a fair return from development. By playing a central role in EITI, we can share best practices that will help governments, companies, and civil societies around the world manage their resources responsibly. U.S. companies, in particular, will benefit from improved disclosure policies around the world that will allow them to compete on a level playing field in a healthy marketplace.

"EITI is a multi-stakeholder process," said Lissakers, "and Revenue Watch looks forward to strong collaboration between the Department of the Interior and civil society partners in the implementation of this presidential initiative."

The U.S. agreed to implement EITI this September as part of its commitment to the Open Government Partnership, an international initiative of governments and civil society groups.

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