Transparency initiative targets extractive industries

Oct 28, 2013

Nearly half of Wyoming is federal land, and the government collects billions of dollars in taxes and royalties every year from industries using that land. But it isn’t always clear where that money goes, and who benefits from it. Now, an international initiative is trying to change that.

Right now, the federal government only reports royalties and taxes paid by extractive industries, like mining and drilling, in aggregate. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative would require reporting on a company-by-company, project-by-project basis. The US is preparing to submit its application to the international governing body for the initiative early next year. Mia Steinle works for the Project on Government Oversight, one of the groups helping develop the rules.

She says in addition to requiring more detailed reporting, it should make information more accessible.

“There is a lot of information strewn throughout various websites," Steinle says. "But a lot of people just don’t know it’s there, or if they see it, they might not know how to use it.”

The initiative would only apply to federal royalties and taxes. The State of Wyoming already discloses data about companies’ taxable values, but not what they actually pay.