Subject: Reconsideration of Conflict Minerals Rule Implementation
From: Kathy Ash

March 15, 2017

SEC Action Chairman Michael S. Piwowar

Dear SEC Action Chairman Piwowar,

I support the SEC's 2012 conflict minerals rule. Unregulated mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding region poses a substantial threat to great apes and other species of endangered wildlife, including Great Apes, as illegal mining operations inside and around the country's national parks have destroyed critical habitat and caused the killing of endangered wildlife and many other animals to feed miners. A recent study supported by the U.S. government showed that the Grauer's gorilla population in DRC has declined by 80%, and this gorilla was recently listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List due to this substantial decline.

The situation has improved since the conflict minerals rule was approved, promoting the rule of law, increasing stability in the region, and reducing pressure on endangered wildlife. It supports the Congolese people in their efforts improved transparency in the supply chain around conflict minerals and provides consumers with information to help them make informed purchases.

As of April 2016, there are now 204 mines free from guns and armed militias because of this rule, giving American companies and consumers growing confidence that their purchases are not contributing to death and destruction in DRC.

I urge you to continue to implement the rule and to reject efforts to weaken it. We should always serve as a leader in making the world a better place and in securing a worthwhile future for our children. Rescinding this rule would make life better for a few executives profit but much worse for may people and especially, the wildlife with which we are entrusted to protect. If we don't history will judge as as failing our planet.


Kathy Ash