Energy & environment

Most investor-state disputes (ISDS) have concerned environmental matters. Corporations are using the ISDS system found in trade and investment agreements to challenge environmental policies. As of end of 2019, 41% of all ICSID cases were energy and natural resources-related.

Most well-known cases include:

• Lone Pine Resources (US) vs. Canada: the investor challenged Quebec’s moratorium on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas. The provincial government declared the moratorium in 2011 so as to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the extraction method widely accused of leaching chemicals and gases into groundwater and the air. Case pending (NAFTA invoked).

• Bilcon (US) vs. Canada: the US industry challenged Canadian environmental requirements affecting their plans to open a basalt quarry and a marine terminal in Nova Scotia. In 2015 the ISDS tribunal decided that the government’s decision hindered the investors’ expectations. Bilcon won and received US$7 million in damages, plus interest (NAFTA invoked).

• Vattenfall (Sweden) vs. Germany: in 2007 the Swedish energy corporation was granted a provisional permit to build a coal-fired power plant near the city of Hamburg. In an effort to protect the Elbe river from the waste waters dumped from the plant, environmental restrictions were added before the final approval of its construction. The investor initiated a dispute, arguing it would make the project unviable. The case was ultimately settled in 2011, with the city of Hamburg agreeing to the lowering of environmental standards (ECT invoked).

(March 2020)

CIAR Global | 30-Mar-2020
La compañía minera británica South32 SA Investments Limited ha solicitado un arbitraje de inversiones conta Colombia ante el CIADI.
IISD | 28-Mar-2020
Los demandantes iniciaron el arbitraje del CIADI contra España, alegando violaciones del Tratado sobre la Carta de la Energía, incluidas el trato justo y equitativo, la cláusula paraguas y de no perjuicio.
IISD | 28-Mar-2020
Les demandeurs ont entamé un arbitrage CIRDI contre l’Espagne, invoquant des violations du Traité sur la charte de l’énergie, notamment les clauses de traitement juste et équitable, de parapluie et de non-entrave.
IISD | 28-Mar-2020
The claimants initiated ICSID arbitration against Spain, claiming breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty, including the fair and equitable treatment, umbrella and non-impairment clauses.
Inequality.org | 27-Mar-2020
The hard work of protecting water and land from the long-term harms associated with gold and silver mining takes place daily on the frontlines of tenacious struggles throughout Latin America and around the world.
Commercial Dispute Resolution | 19-Mar-2020
The government of Mauritius triumphed in an investor-state arbitration against a group of United Kingdom property developers who wanted to develop property at a UNESCO World Heritage site on the island.
EJIL: Talk! | 18-Mar-2020
While policies aiming to phase out coal are necessary to tackle climate change, they may give rise to legal claims from companies whose investments are adversely affected by the low-carbon energy transition.
Market Screener | 18-Mar-2020
ICSID appointed a committee to consider Pakistan’s annulment application which is expected to reach a conclusion in the next one to two years.
Gabriel Resources | 16-Mar-2020
Gabriel has provided notice to Romania of a dispute with regard to Romania’s application to UNESCO in relation to Roşia Montană and has reserved its right to commence a further arbitration.
Glasgow Guardian | 16-Mar-2020
Civil society activists and scientific experts denounce the unsustainable practice of investment disputes under the Energy Charter Treaty.

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