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US backs out of global oil anti-corruption effort
The Trump administration said Thursday it would exit an international effort to fight corruption that targeted revenue from oil and natural gas extraction.
The U.S. will no longer participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global initiative that requires member nations to disclose their revenues from oil, gas and mining assets, according to Reuters.
Under the agreement, the U.S. was required to reveal all the revenue it received from oil, gas and mining companies, and required those companies to publicly disclose the payments they make to the U.S. and other governments.
Gregory Gould, director of the U.S. Office of Natural Resources Revenue, 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 ripped the move as a sign that the Trump administration was 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.
The U.S. joined the agreement in 2011 after a joint effort from Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).
The two issued a joint statement on Thursday calling the move to exit the agreement 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."