A global coalition coordinating the effort to root out widespread corruption in the energy sector is decrying the Trump administration's decision to pull out of the effort.
The Interior Department informed the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative on Thursday that the United States is withdrawing as an implementing country. That means the United States will no longer align its rules and regulations to be fully compliant with the global effort to reduce corruption connected to drilling and mining in typically poor, resource-rich countries.
"This is a disappointing, backwards step. The EITI is making important gains in global efforts to address corruption and illicit financial flows," EITI Chairman Fredrik Reinfeldt said in a statement.
"It's important that resource-rich countries like the United States lead by example. This decision sends the wrong signal."
Earlier this year, an Interior Department spokesperson denied the agency was planning to pull out of EITI. The spokesperson made the claims after CNBC inquired about reports that Interior officials canceled all of the remaining scheduled meetings with nonprofit and industry groups linked to EITI.
On Thursday, the director of Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue said the United States would not become a full member because "domestic implementation of EITI does not fully account for the U.S. legal framework." The United States will remain a supporting country and "remains fully committed to institutionalizing the EITI principles of transparency and accountability consistent with U.S. law," Director Gregory Gould told Reinfeldt in a letter.