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U.S. extractive industries transparency meeting scheduled

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A new federal advisory committee that will analyze ways to increase transparency and accountability in the nation's extractive industries has set a date for its first meeting.

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) Advisory Committee will hold its first public meeting on February 13 in Washington, DC. The members of the committee will work on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative a "voluntary, global effort designed to increase transparency, strengthen the accountability of natural resource revenue reporting, and build public trust for the governance of these vital activities."

Ted Boettner, director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy was chosen to serve on the board. He said increasing transparency in the extractive sector could "enable citizens to hold government and companies accountable for the ways in which natural resources are managed.

"While the central focus of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(EITI) is to create a uniform standard in what energy companies pay and what government collect in revenues on an international basis, the scope could expand from federal to state, tribal and could potentially include both public and private land," Boettner said.

As of Jan. 1 the EITI website did not yet include the agenda for the meeting.  

Boettner is the only representative on the committee from West Virginia and the only one who represents a state-based organization.

"My hope is that our experience in West Virginia with a boom and bust energy economy, which has led to economic underdevelopment in some areas, can help provide lessons for other areas of the country and the world in managing natural resource extraction. For a long time, West Virginia did not adequately tax minerals and today it still suffers from an inability to use these rich natural resources to promote and invest in a sustainable economic development model. Moreover, the state continues to struggle to adequately tax coal property,  especially compared to natural gas and oil property," he said.

The meeting will be open to the public, but space is limited. To register, request placement on the speaker list or submit written comments, contact Shirley Conway by February 6 via email at Shirley.Conway@onrr.gov, by phone at (202) 513-0598 or fax (202) 513-0682. 

Additional information, including the final agenda and any supporting materials, will be posted on the USEITI Advisory Committee webpage at http://www.doi.gov/eiti/