In a previous post, we provided a summary of both the maneuverings of the SEC’s resource extraction rule after it was issued and Oxfam’s suit to speed up the SEC’s development of a revised rule after it was vacated. As a reminder, on September 2, 2015 (nearly a year after the Oxfam case was filed), a federal judge gave the SEC a deadline to file an “expedited schedule” for issuing the final resource extraction rule — October 2, 2015.
As required, the SEC filed its expedited schedule today. According to the filing, the SEC proposes to vote on the final rule on or before June 27, 2016. To accomplish that, it will first have to:
- complete and issue a revised proposed rule (which the SEC proposes to do by December 31, 2015)
- provide at least 45 days for public comment
- analyze the public comments
- complete a draft final rule
The SEC was quick to emphasize that the deadline for the vote on the final rule represented an “extremely expedited timeframe” and advised the court that it might have to seek an extension of time to complete the rulemaking in light of:
- what the SEC called an “unprecedented volume of enforcement, rulemaking, and other regulatory work”
- the fact that the adoption of the rule requires a majority vote of the participating SEC Commissioners (and the composition of the Commission is changing — Republican Commissioner Gallagher’s last day on the Commission was to be October 2, 2015)
- certain events that — if they occur — may make it impracticable to complete the rulemaking process on the proposed timeline (the SEC lists government shut-down, relevant international developments, and unexpected relevant legal developments as events that could delay the rulemaking process)
Remember, the resource extraction rule is not something that the SEC initiated on it own. It was required to issue the resource extraction rule by Section 1504 of Dodd-Frank. So, this rulemaking is required. But, no doubt, the Oxfam litigation pushed the resource extraction rule ahead of other pending SEC rulemakings.