The issue of disclosing tax payments has been a matter of dispute throughout the process, Morgan and others said.
While industry groups and companies have publicly supported EITI, “the issue has been they refuse to provide some of the key information to satisfy some of the most basic information, specifically around tax information here in the United States,” said Zorka Milin, senior legal advisor at Global Witness, another advisory committee member.
Under EITI guidelines, government agencies must consult with industry groups and relevant nonprofits as they implement the standards. By canceling the scheduled meetings, Interior has invalidated the U.S. EITI process, nonprofit groups said.
“The Department of the Interior is like … a college student saying ‘I’m not going to attend classes and I’m not going to take exams, but I’m not dropping out,'” said Jay Branegan, a senior fellow at The Lugar Center who was on the call, after seeing Swift’s comment to CNBC.
Swift told CNBC that Interior is “evaluating how to proceed with additional EITI multistakeholder meetings this year.”
The Office of Natural Resources Revenue thanked members of the advisory committee for participating in the process and for making the public “more aware of the contributions of the extractive industries to the U.S. economy and jobs,” in a letter obtained by CNBC dated March 9, the same day the conference call took place. The letter also provided a summary of the committee’s work.