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).

Photo: Kris Krug / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

(March 2020)

CAN Europe | 5-Mar-2021
In his opinion on March 3, the Advocate General shed some light on this question by arguing that ISDS in intra-EU disputes is indeed not allowed under EU law.
Investigate Europe | 3-Mar-2021
It is highly questionable whether there will be a new or revised treaty in two years that will protect the climate instead of endangering it.
L’Humanité | 3-Mar-2021
Plus de 750 000 personnes ont signé en une seule semaine la pétition européenne appelant l’Union européenne et les Etats-membres de l’UE à se retirer du Traité sur la charte de l’énergie.
NTR | 3-Mar-2021
La minera canadiense First Majestic Silver inició una solicitud de arbitraje internacional bajo el Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN) contra el Gobierno de México, informó la compañía, que mantiene una disputa fiscal con las autoridades del País.
MRT | 3-Mar-2021
Canadian mining company First Majestic Silver Corp submitted a request for arbitration based on NAFTA, due to the tax debt and its differences with the Mexican government.
CEO | 23-Feb-2021
Sign the petition to pull out of the Energy Charter Treaty and stop its expansion to other countries!
EU Observer | 23-Feb-2021
The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states’ energy or climate policies.
Basta! | 23-Feb-2021
Un accord international méconnu, le Traité sur la charte de l’énergie, pourrait détruire les efforts des pays européens pour atteindre leurs objectifs climatiques. Face aux industries de l’énergie, ONG et parlementaires tentent d’alerter sur cette menace.
Collectif Stop CETA | 23-Feb-2021
Le Traité sur la charte de l’énergie (TCE) est un traité peu connu, mais aux effets nocifs considérables.
Proactive | 19-Feb-2021
Panthera said it has been “consistently frustrated over an extended period” by the government of Rajasthan, which has rejected Panthera’s application for a prospecting licence for the gold project.

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