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SEC delays conflict mineral rules as human rights abuses continue

By Nick Magel

January 12, 2012

There are varied definitions for conflict minerals. I usually define conflict minerals as minerals that are mined and used to influence and finance armed conflict, human rights abuses, and violence. 

I also like Global Witness’ definition of “conflict resources” as “natural resources whose systematic exploitation and trade in a context of conflict contribute to, benefit from or result in the commission of serious violations of human rights, violations of international humanitarian law or violations amounting to crimes under international law”.

Two years ago this term “conflict minerals” hit the US business community with a thud. See, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act had a small section, section 1502, that mandated companies fully understand their supply-chain and report whether or not they were using conflict minerals - in this case tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold - from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The definition used for this law is a specific one and only looks at conflict associated with minerals in the regions of eastern DRC.

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Obama Administration Finalizes Million Acre Ban on Mining Near Grand Canyon

By Lauren Pagel

January 9, 2012

Today I sat in an auditorium in the National Geographic building here in DC and watched Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar sign an administrative withdrawal to protect over 1 million acres of public lands around the Grand Canyon from new mining for 20 years. This action is the culmination of nearly 4 years of effort by a broad coalition to protect this sensitive ecosystem from uranium mining.

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Chesapeake Energy executive tells conflicting stories about Oklahoma gas well blowout

By Sharon Wilson

January 8, 2012

A Chesapeake Energy drilling rig working in Oklahoma hit a shallow pocket of gas on Thursday causing a blowout which burned the rig to the ground. Jim Gipson, Director - Media Relations for Chesapeake, told the media one story but told a concerned Denton citizen a completely different story. Both stories can't be true.

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Tim Ruggiero: Leaving Gasland

By Tim Ruggiero

January 4, 2012

Our ordeal living in Gasland has ended. All I can say about it, and all I care to say about it, is that “The matter has been resolved”.

Read into that how you will, I'll say no more about it.

As my family and our animals begin our new life in Pilot Point, TX, where the air is clean, and the water supply free of drilling chemicals, I have been fielding a number of calls and emails about our new life.

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Big Brother is Watching Colorado’s Local Governments

By Gwen Lachelt

January 3, 2012

In today’s Denver Post, Mark Jaffe reports that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is creating two local government liaison positions. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association – the industry lobbying group - is also adding a community liaison position.

As a new drilling wave hits Colorado’s Front Range, local governments are working hard to get in front of drilling and have proper safeguards in place before it’s too late.

Unfortunately, local control is the last thing the state and the industry wants. COGA’s Tisha Schuller stated in the article that the “industry is engaging in a more meaningful way than it used to.”

This is actually a case of the oil and gas industry and the state dusting off a dirty old strategy and making it sound shiny and new and helpful.

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