For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Ben Schreiber, (202) 222-0752,
Gabby Brown, (914) 261-4626,

Ahead of KXL NAFTA Claim, Environmental Groups Deliver Voided $15 Billion Check to TransCanada Office

Experts available to discuss future of NAFTA case, TPP

WASHINGTON - Earlier this year, TransCanada announced plans to sue the United States under NAFTA in a private, unaccountable tribunal for $15 billion in damages because of President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Tomorrow, May 6th, is the first day the Canadian oil company can officially submit its claim.

This morning, environmental advocates walked from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to TransCanada’s office in Washington, DC to deliver a giant voided check for $15 billion to protest the company’s attempt to charge American taxpayers for protecting their air and water, and decry proposed trade deals that would give hundreds of additional corporate polluters access to similar provisions.

View photos from today’s action here.

Participating organizations included Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, SustainUS, Bold Alliance, Wica Agli, Food & Water Watch, and Center for Biological Diversity

“Foreign oil company TransCanada wanted to build a pipeline across the United States so that they could ship their dirty oil around the globe,” said Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club Responsible Trade Program. “Now that their pipeline has been rejected, they are demanding $15 billion -- that’s $100 from every individual income tax return in the U.S. -- for the right to protect our air, our land, and our water. We are taking action to let TransCanada know that we reject their claim and to let Congress know that we reject trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would expand the ability of corporations to sue us in private tribunals over our climate protections.”


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“First TransCanada used eminent domain to try to plow a pipeline through farms and ranches across the United States.  Now it is asking an unaccountable tribunal to hand the American people the bill for its rejected pipeline,” said Ben Schreiber, Climate and Energy program director with Friends of the Earth U.S. “This cynical ploy is the clearest example yet of why Congress must reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- a trade deal that would give hundreds more fossil fuel companies access to similar unaccountable tribunals.” 

“President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline because it would exacerbate climate change. Yet the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be far worse for the climate and give hundreds of new fossil fuels companies the right to sue over policies that keep fossil fuels in the ground. We reject TransCanada's $15 billion claim and we reject the TPP,” said Adam Hasz, SustainUS executive coordinator.

Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said, “It is outrageous that a foreign corporation can sue the United States for a positive climate decision by the president. This case is another sad example of a long list of frivolous investment lawsuits authorized by trade agreements.”

“TransCanada represents all the reckless Big Oil corporations who think they can use a secret court system to extort millions of dollars from Americans because they did not get their way on Keystone XL,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Alliance. “America stands up to bullies and we are headed in a different direction for our energy, one that respects property rights and protects our water.”


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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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