Will the TPP set back this campaign to stop a proposed coal mine on Montana tribal land?

By Sarah van Gelder (2016)

Carvers from the Lummi Tribe in Washington State brought a totem pole as a sign of support for those fighting the Otter Creek project, a proposed strip mine and rail spur on the Northern Cheyenne Tribe’s traditional lands. Thousands—from southeast Montana to the Pacific coast—have expressed opposition, citing concerns about pollution, noise, impacts on fisheries, and climate change. But even when local leaders get state and national support, corporations can still have the last word. Provisions in many trade agreements, including NAFTA, allow foreign corporations to sue governments for lost profits.

Bringing community perspectives to investor-state arbitration: the Pac Rim case

By Thierry Berger, Saúl Baños, Marcos A. Orellana (2015)

This publication distils lessons from the experience of La Mesa, a coalition of community organizations, research institutes and environmental, human rights and faith-based non-profit organizations advocating on metals mining in El Salvador. Through its submissions in the Pac Rim arbitration, La Mesa provided different perspectives on the case from those presented by the disputing parties, bringing to the arbitral tribunal’s attention the ongoing democratic debate in El Salvador in relation to metals mining and sustainable development.

The global fight against corporate rule

By Robin Broad, John Cavanagh (2014)

Until three decades ago, governments could pass laws to protect consumers, workers, health, the environment and domestic firms with little threat of outside legal challenge from corporations. All that changed when corporations started acquiring the “right” to sue governments over actions—including public interest regulations—that reduce the value of their investments. Activists across the globe are developing creative and increasingly effective strategies to push back against investor assaults on their communities, environment and national sovereignty.

Poorer countries and the environment: friends or foes?

By Robin Broad, John Cavanagh (2015)

Local and regional groups started the anti-mining initiatives and sustained them. Their power grew as San Jose-based activists and groups took up their fights. In terms of specific actors beyond local popular organizations and local, regional, and national non-governmental organizations, lawyers played a key role. Academics came together across disciplines and became effective advocates. Opposition to mining by the church, as in El Salvador, was important. And, citizen groups made effective and creative use of the media.