Over the last two and a half years, President Obama has placed a high priority on making government more effective, transparent, and responsive to the needs of citizens. Nowhere is transparency more important than in the management, development, and collection of revenues from energy and minerals in our public lands and oceans. Oil, gas, coal, renewable fuels, and minerals that the Department of the Interior oversees belong to every American, and every American deserves a fair return from development. That is why we have strengthened our royalty and revenue collection program; proposed to bring oil and gas royalty rates on public lands in line with those on private lands; strengthened requirements in energy leases to encourage timely exploration and development; and taken a number of other steps that will help guarantee the taxpayer a full and fair return from their resources.
A critical component of our reform efforts is the President's commitment to implementing what is known as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This international initiative sets a global standard for managing revenues from natural resources, and I am honored to serve as the official representative of the United States.
In many ways, the U.S. is now among the world leaders in transparency for royalty and revenue collections. By playing a central role in EITI, we can share best practices that will help governments, companies, and civil societies around the world manage their resources responsibly. U.S. companies, in particular, will benefit from improved disclosure policies around the world that will allow them to compete on a level playing field in a healthy marketplace.
Our work under this initiative is only beginning, and I look forward to working closely with industry, stakeholders, and the public on EITI as we move forward.
For more information about the United States Open Government National Action Plan, click here.