Today Earthworks joined Global Witness, Enough Project, and a group of other organizations calling for electronics companies to break from the US Chamber of Commerce for its stance of conflict minerals. The Chamber continues to pressure decision makers to overturn a key section of the Dodd-Frank Act designed to curb the deadly trade of conflict minerals from eastern Congo. The minerals covered under the 1502 provision of the Dodd-Frank Act are commonplace in most all electronics, and increasingly in the automotive industry.
Recently, electronics giants Microsoft, General Electric, and Motorola Solutions rebuked the Chamber’s opposition of 1502 by announcing they do not support its stance against the conflict mineral provision. These companies have come to realize the role they can play in breaking the link between the global trade in minerals and violence in eastern DRC. It’s time for the rest of the electronics industry to follow suit; not to mention the jewelry and automotive industry that have yet to distance themselves from The Chambers opposition to the conflict mineral rule in the Dodd-Frank Act.
You can read the entire press release after the jump
In 2005, the newly re-elected Bush/Cheney Administration settled in to a second term eager to drastically reshape our nation’s energy policy. Vice President Cheney held a series of closed-door meetings with energy companies, forging a direction so favorable to drillers that the exemptions from our bedrock environmental laws crafted therein became known as the Halliburton loopholes. One of those exemptions (there are a total of seven) declared that the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) would not apply to hydraulic fracturing. Originally passed by Congress in 1974, the SDWA is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water, especially underground sources of drinking water.
Will you join us in Washington, DC July 28?
As many of you know, I work everyday to address oil and gas impacts. I’ve dedicated my career to preventing and minimizing the impacts of drilling and fracking. Working with ranchers, conservation organizations, homeowners and local governments, we’ve passed many precedent-setting laws and safeguards to protect landowner rights, public health, water and air quality. And we've permanently protected places like New Mexico's Valle Vidal and Montana's Rocky Mountain Front.
But it’s not enough. We need to take our message to Washington.
Last week Global Witness released the report, A Hidden Crisis?, documenting the murders of environmental activists around the world. The report examines reported killings of journalist, activists, and community members that have been killed because of their involvement in the defense of the environment. Spanning back to 2002, the report finds that 711 people have been killed in the last decade, or more than one person a week. The report paints a stark picture of the threats community members are facing as the mining industry, logging, and cattle ranching look to develop new lands. Killings have skyrocketed in the past years. Global Witness reports that there were over 106 murders in 2011 alone.
The idea that risk is lower when fewer people are exposed to harm may hold true in statistical analysis—but is little comfort to those who actually suffer the consequences. Which is precisely why New York Governor Cuomo’s proposal to allow high-volume gas development in certain locations is a bad idea.
Last Thursday I sat in on a hearing for the House Committee for Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, and Procurement Reform, where discussion on the possibility of federally regulating fracking caused such a heated debate that it nearly broke out into a “duel” on the Hill. Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Michael Krancer, challenged the director of the Agriculture, Energy, and Environment Program at Cornell University, Dr. Robert Howarth to a duel over the validity of state regulation on environmental issues.
With all the innovation in the market today, consumers are constantly upgrading their electronic devices. Many consumers are making the responsible decision to recycle their unwanted electronic items. When managed properly, parts of their old electronics could be reused and potentially enter the supply chain again, thus decreasing the need to mine precious metals.
The first salmon are arriving in Bristol Bay's rivers this week -- just as the EPA is holding public hearings in communities throughout the region about the watershed assessment that the agency just completed on the threat of large-scale mining to the Bristol Bay fishery - the largest wild salmon fishery in the world.
Upwards of three hundred people packed the halls of the Dillingham gymnasium, and the testimony was unanimously in support of protecting Bristol Bay's fishery from the Pebble Mine. Over and over again, community leaders thanked the EPA for completing the study and urged it to move forward to protect the area's waters from mine waste disposal under 404c of the Clean Water Act.
The EPA has authority under Section 404c to restrict the disposal of mine waste into streams, lakes and wetlands, and Bristol Bay native tribes and commercial fishermen have asked the EPA to use its authority to protect the salmon fishery from the Pebble mine.
Fish come first!
The same message dominated every hearing in the region - Nak Nek, Levelock, Nondalton, Igiugig, and New Stuyahok.
The Bristol Bay watershed assessment makes a clear and compelling scientific case that developing the Pebble deposit will have severe and lasting consequences for salmon.
The EPA will be taking public comment on the watershed assessment until July 23rd.