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SEC to Rewrite Oil-Company Payments Rule Thrown Out by Court

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will rewrite a rule mandating disclosure of payments by oil and gas companies to foreign governments after a federal judge voided an earlier version.

In moving to redraft the rule, the commission decided against appealing U.S. District Judge John Bates’s July 2 opinion, which found the regulation wasn’t consistent with Congress’ directions. Required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the provision was aimed at enhancing the transparency of payments between oil and gas producers and resource-rich countries.

The SEC will re-propose the rule in a manner “informed by the court’s decision,” John Nester, an SEC spokesman, said today. He said there was no schedule for issuing a new proposal.

The commission approved the rule in August 2012. It was challenged in court by the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for oil and gas producers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and two other trade groups.

In rejecting the rule, Bates wrote the SEC erred in deciding that payment-disclosure forms filed by individual companies must be made public. The judge also faulted the SEC for rejecting an exemption from disclosure for payments to countries that don’t permit the release of the information.

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