The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has informed a US district court that it may not be proposing regulations requiring energy and mining companies to disclose payments to governments for the extraction of natural resources until spring 2016. The SEC made the statement in a March 27, 2015 filing in response to a lawsuit brought by Oxfam America. Oxfam argues that the SEC failed to finalize new regulations to implement Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) within 270 days, as required by law. Previously, the SEC stated that it would propose regulations by April 2015 and then moved the date to October 2015.
Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires the SEC to issue regulations requiring reporting issuers engaged in the commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals to file an annual report of payments made to the US government or a foreign government. Oxfam first sued the SEC in May 2012 for its failure to finalize regulations within the 270-day deadline. The SEC then finalized regulations in August 2012, but a US district court vacated them in July 2013. The court found that the regulations were “arbitrary and capricious” and that the SEC “fundamentally miscalculated the scope of its discretion at critical junctures.” Rather than appeal the decision, the SEC decided to re-write the rules, but has yet to do so, leading Oxfam to file a second suit in September 2014.