To date, over 500 communities in the U.S. have passed measures against the controversial form of oil and gas extraction known as fracking. But a comprehensive new study by our allies at the Sierra Club shows that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could undermine momentum to ban fracking nationwide and block climate-destroying pipelines.
That’s because the TPP would let foreign corporations sue the United States when communities defeat the fossil fuel industry at the ballot box, or in statehouses and Congress, giving polluters a powerful financial weapon to overturn democracy.
Controversial corporate trade lawsuits are a new avenue to attack federal, state and local policies aimed at fighting dirty energy and reversing climate change. Under NAFTA, a U.S.-based natural gas firm has already sued Canada for $119 million over a fracking moratorium in Quebec. TransCanada has sued the United States for $15 billion for blocking the Keystone XL pipeline.
Sierra Club’s Climate Roadblocks study shows how the TPP and the proposed trade deal with the European Union still under negotiation (known as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP) pose even greater threats to the climate movement. These two trade deals would give 1,000 U.S.-based subsidiaries of 100 foreign fossil fuel companies new rights to sue — for money damages — over climate policies.
Together these companies have generated more than 20 percent of historical greenhouse gas emissions, and include the eight largest private greenhouse gas polluters outside the United States. To give them the power to overturn grassroots movements to protect communities from further pollution is absolutely abominable.
How the TPP Could Block Popular Measures Related to Energy and Climate Change
Even worse, the TPP could be used to block future anti-fracking policies. Merely threatening to file trade lawsuits has a chilling effect on the democratic process at the state or local level — no jurisdiction wants to get drawn into a multi-million or multi-billion-dollar trade tribunal lawsuit.
The study also shows how the TPP could be used to attack efforts to prevent offshore drilling and campaigns to block gas and oil pipelines. TPP investment rules could let foreign oil and gas companies with gas leases on public lands sue for damages if Congress passed the Protect Our Public Lands Act, which would prohibit fracking on federally owned land.
Congress must reject the TPP and its attempt to roll back the popular movement to reverse climate change. Take action to stop the TPP today!
The TPP would basically let foreign gas and oil companies call the shots on fracking, pipelines and climate concerns. These companies could bring investor-to-state lawsuits over new laws or policies that curb their ability to profit from spewing greenhouse gases. Congress must reject the TPP and its attempt to roll back the popular movement to reverse climate change. Take action to stop the TPP today!