WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) chaired a hearing of the National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee entitled, “From Timber to Tungsten: How the Exploitation of Natural Resources Funds Rogue Organizations and Regimes.”

The development, use, and export of natural resources are an important driver of national wealth. In some situations, however, illicit harvesting and trade can cause lasting ecological and humanitarian damage as well as provide funding to criminal organizations, terrorists, and rogue regimes. Today’s hearing examined the different methods of resource exploitation, as well as the tools available on the national and international level to combat them.

“Experts estimate that the illicit natural resource market generates more than $100 billion a year, making it the fastest-growing international crime,” said Himes. “Proceeds from these crimes flow into terrorist coffers, support extremist organizations, and fund criminal operations around the world. We need to discuss how we can improve legal remedies, refine information sharing, and encourage the private sector to implement standards that recognize risks and suspicious behaviors.”

Witnesses appearing at the hearing included:

• Kidan Araya, Member, Illicit Trafficking Working Group, Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security; Board Member, Africa Policy Accelerator, CSIS

• Carla García Zendejas, Director, People, Land, and Resources, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

• Channing Mavrellis, Illicit Trade Director, Global Financial Integrity

• Kathleen Miles, Director of Analysis, Center on Illicit Networks and Organized Crime (CINTOC)

• Joshua Fruth, Chief Strategy Officer, Section 2 Financial Intelligence Solutions

For more information, contact Patrick Malone at Patrick.malone@mail.house.gov. The full bill is attached.