Effort to block oil exploration in Congo park

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

GENEVA (AP) — An environmental organization says it making progress in its bid to block proposed oil exploration in Africa's oldest national park where 200 gorillas live.

Swiss-based WWF says Britain's Department for Business Innovation and Skills has validated some of the concerns the organization has about SOCO International PLC's human rights and environmental record in Congo's Virunga National Park.

The organization said in a statement Friday that it was pleased by an initial assessment of its complaint to the arm of the British government responsible for overseeing compliance with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development guidelines on sustainable development, public disclosure and other points.

SOCO said in a statement, however, that the initial assessment does not mean that the OECD believes SOCO has acted "inconsistently" with the voluntary guidelines.