Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Senator Merkley and Four House Members Urge SEC to Quickly and Strongly implement Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals Provision

In a letter to the SEC, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and four House Members from Oregon urged the Commission to promptly issue regulations implementing the conflict minerals provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 1502 was included in the legislation to stop conflict minerals, including gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten, from entering the US supply chain by requiring transparency and accountability. Specifically, it requires companies to attest to the source of minerals derived from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries, as well as document the measures taken to determine whether they are conflict free. The letter was also signed by Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Kurt Schader (D-OR) and Suzanne Bonomici (D-OR)

The SEC defended its pace in finalizing Section 1502 regulations by citing the need to complete an adequate cost-benefit analysis. While recognizing the importance of carefully drafting these regulations, the Senator and House Members remain concerned with delays that jeopardize the safety of countless individuals and the moral integrity US businesses.

They noted that the private sector is moving forward on this issue. For instance, Intel Corporation has completed on-site reviews of more than 40 smelters worldwide, including an on-the-ground examination of the extractives and minerals trade in the DRC. Intel has partnered with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to establish a Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade. As a result, by 2013, the company aims to have built the first verifiably conflict free microprocessor. The responsible corporate leadership epitomized by Intel with respect to the 'conflict minerals' trade demonstrates a way forward that is both replicable and remunerative.