Tougher disclosure rules on oil companies and their dealings abroad will help countless lives in the countries where they do business, says billionaire financier George Soros.
Transparency measures in the U.S. and Europe can help end shadowy deals among corrupt governments and oil companies, which tend to prevent money from trickling down to the general population.
"In July 2010, the U.S. passed the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires all oil, mining and gas companies registered in the U.S. to report payments to foreign governments, both by country and by project," Soros writes in the Financial Times.
European and Asian countries are enacting similar measures for natural resource companies, affecting most of the world's major oil and mining firms.
That, Soros says, will make corruption and squandering less likely in Africa and the Middle East, thus transforming countries there into prosperous democracies.
"Those promoting greater transparency in the natural resources industries are helping to reinforce powerful historical forces, which will unlock transformational sums of money to improve the lives of millions of people in some of the most fragile countries in the world."
Demand for oil is on the rise as the U.S. emerges from its recession while growing powers like China and Brazil need more to fuel their expanding economies.
For that reason, U.S. politicians say, now is the time to drill more at home, particularly in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska.
"Our resolve to produce energy from ANWR remains as strong as ever," says Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, according to NPR.
"World events are once again reminding Americans that we must do more to produce our own energy."
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