Last month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ordered the SEC to file an expedited schedule for promulgating final rules regarding the disclosure of payments by resource extraction issuers. In response, on 2 October 2015, the SEC filed a notice with the court that it would propose and adopt final rules within 270 days.
The U.S. District Court’s order followed an action by Oxfam America, Inc. to compel the SEC to comply with Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd Frank), which requires the SEC to issue rules requiring resource companies to disclose payments made to governments for the purpose of the commercial development of oil, natural gas, and minerals.
The SEC initially adopted final rules for resource extraction issuers under Dodd Frank in 2012, but these rules were vacated by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2013 because they contained two “substantial errors” related to the public disclosures of payments and the application of the rule to payments to countries that that prohibit such disclosure.
Separately, on 2 October 2015, the SEC, along with Amnesty International, filed a petition to overturn a decision by a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that found the SEC’s conflict minerals rules to be unconstitutional.