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Cardin, Lugar: U.S. should follow Norway’s transparency example

WASHINGTON —U.S. Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), commended the government of Norway for being the first OECD country to publicly disclose its oil and gas revenues as a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Lugar and Cardin called for the U.S., which is currently a supporting country, to become an implementing member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as a step toward renewed U.S. leadership on transparency in the management of oil, natural gas, and minerals.

“I congratulate the government of Norway on this important step in demonstrating good governance of its natural resources to the Norwegian people,” Lugar said. “Transparency should be the global norm. Americans would also benefit from increased transparency in our domestic oil resources. Demonstrating U.S. leadership by joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative bolsters our efforts to combat corruption, strengthen energy security, and encourage economic development in natural resource producing nations.”

Senator Cardin called on the Obama Administration to follow Norway’s lead in revenue transparency, saying, “The transparency framework of EITI is a global model not just for developing countries, but for wealthier countries as well. We are not immune to corruption in this country, so the more tools we have to publicize information about our natural resources the more transparent and accountable we become to the American people.”

On September 23, 2009, Lugar and Cardin, joined by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Russ Feingold (D-WI), introduced the Energy Security Through Transparency Act (S.1700) to combat the “resource curse.” In addition to strengthening international disclosure efforts, that legislation expresses the sense of Congress that the Administration should undertake to become an implementing country of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (we are currently a supporting country); and commits the Department of Interior to disclosing extractive payments received for resources derived from federal lands.

Learn more about the “resource curse” by reading the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Minority Staff report at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_senate_committee_prints&docid=f:44727.pdf.

Watch a video from the U.S. Helsinki Commission on the need for energy transparency and energy security at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvZZ5uQ42Co.

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