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More TPP Trickery: Keystone Pipeline Company Demands $15B Under Prior Trade Deal

This week, the TransCanada pipeline company officially filed a $15 billion corporate trade lawsuit against the United States for refusing to allow the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. After an intense grassroots campaign by environmentalists, farmers, landowners and local governments, President Obama blocked the pipeline that would have delivered high-carbon oil from Canadian tar sands because it undermined U.S. efforts to fight climate change.

But TransCanada is now using North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) investment rules to sue the federal government for rejecting the pipeline, demanding $15 billion dollars in repayment for anticipated profits it expected from the project.

Killing the Messenger

TPP Expands Corporate Power

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has the same kind of investment rules that allow foreign companies to sue for damages if new laws or policies allegedly undermine their expected future earnings. These rules set up a special court for corporations to challenge measures that protect the environment and public health — effectively demanding payoffs when governments take action to safeguard the public.


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Greenhouse gas polluters could use the TPP investment provisions to unravel federal, state and local efforts to fight climate change. For example, these TPP rules would empower foreign oil and gas companies with leases on public lands to sue for damages if Congress passed the Protect Our Public Lands Act, which would prohibit fracking on federal land.

Take Action: Tell Congress to Reject the TPP

This week’s Keystone XL lawsuit brought to you by NAFTA only highlights the dangers of these corporate trade investor suits and contributes to the growing skepticism and hostility towards the TPP. It’s no wonder there is widespread and surging dissatisfaction with so-called free trade deals that are little more than giveaways to the largest international corporations.

Enough is enough. Congress should reject the TPP to prevent these corporate trade lawsuits from weakening environmental, workplace and public health protections. Take action today to urge Congress to reject the TPP.

Patrick Woodall

Patrick Woodall

Patrick Woodall is Research Director and Senior Policy Advocate for Food & Water Watch. Patrick has been a public policy analyst, researcher and advocate on economic justice issues in Washington for more than two decades.

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