The over-reliance of many nations on the revenues generated by the oil, gas, and mining industries often makes these countries vulnerable to volatile global demand and falling world market prices, and discourages investment in sectors like manufacturing and agriculture that can distribute jobs and income more widely across society. As stated by Oxfam America, “when community lands are seized for pipelines or mines, farming and fishing communities suffer. Indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable—governments and companies tend to overlook their concerns. Too often, affected communities receive little information about these projects and have no say in whether or how resources will be extracted from their lands. In addition, governments do not always distribute revenues back to communities. The result is that extractive industries often unleash pollution, corruption, displacement, social unrest, and human rights violations. Oil and minerals are already the number one export of most poor countries, and countries are becoming increasingly dependent on these exports.”
Bernie Sanders supports the efforts of communities and nations to harness the potential of extractive industries to support sustainable development. He shares in the belief that local communities most directly affected should have a voice in whether oil, gas, and mining projects go forward and how they are carried out. He also believes that projects should be socially and environmentally responsible, and serve to alleviate poverty.
Along these lines, Senator Sanders has been a strong supporter of Section 1504 of the Dodd Frank Act, which requires oil companies to report exactly how much money they pay to poor governments. However, since the law has been passed, these payments remain a secret, and therefore encourages corruption while allowing multinational energy and mining companies to withhold or divert payments. In May of 2015, Senator Sanders co-authored a Senate letter to the
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Transparency lacking in the oil, mining, and gas industries, Delaware Online.