|Right to Know Movement Calls for New U.S. Law
A coalition of non-governmental organizations issued a
report in January,
2003, proposing a new U.S. law that would require companies traded on
U.S. stock exchanges to disclose the environmental and labor practices
of their overseas operations. The
International Right to Know coalition, which includes the
Amnesty International, models
its proposal on existing U.S. laws, principally the
Planning and Community Right to Know Act, or EPCRA, and the
The EPCRA was passed in 1986, largely in response to the Bhopal disaster
of 1984, in which 40 tons of lethal gas leaked from a Union Carbide
plant in India and killed thousands of people. The EPCRA requires
companies to disclose information about the chemicals they use, store,
and release from their facilities, which the
Environmental Protection Agency makes
publicly available in the Toxics
Release Inventory. The disclosure requirements, however, apply only
to companiesí U.S. operations. The International Right to Know movement
calls for disclosure on overseas operations as well.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, passed in 1977, prohibits U.S.
companies from making corrupt payments to foreign officials for the
purpose of obtaining or keeping business. The International Right to
Know report cites the law as a success in having virtually halted the
bribing of foreign officials by U.S. corporations.
|ARTICLES AND COMMENTARY
A Citizenís Platform for Our Environmental Right to Know, OMB
Watch, (March, 2001).
- Thomas Blanton, The World's Right to Know, Foreign
Policy, (July/August 2002).
Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, International Right-to-Know: Strategies to
Increase Corporate Accountability in the midst of Globalization,
Natural Resources Defense Council, (October 11, 2001).
- Margaret M. Gatti,
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,, Margaret M. Gatti &
- David Handler and Stanley R. Soya,
The International Anti-Bribery and Fair Competition Act of 1998 Amends
the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act , Piper Rudnick LLP, (1999).
February 19, 2003; Last updated February 19, 2003.