Bold Nebraska Joins Environmental, Landowner, Indigenous Groups
to Urge Congress: Learn From Keystone XL, Oppose TPP Trade Deal
Lincoln — Today, 40 leading environmental groups including the Indigenous Environmental Network, Bold Nebraska, Friends of the Earth, 350.org, and the Sierra Club sent a letter urging Congress to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. The letter, sent to Congress a day before President Obama and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet in Washington, D.C., follows TransCanada’s January announcement that it plans to use rules in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to force American taxpayers to compensate the company for President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL project in November 2015.
In January TransCanada announced its intent to use the “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) system in NAFTA to ask a private tribunal of three lawyers to order the U.S. government to pay them more than $15 billion as “compensation” for the pipeline rejection — a decision that spared communities the threat of increased climate disruption and spills of dirty tar sands oil.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a pending trade deal symbolically signed by the 12 member nations’ leaders at a ceremony in February but still requiring approval from Congress — would extend virtually the same broad rights that TransCanada is claiming to more than 9,000 new foreign-owned firms operating in the U.S., roughly doubling the number of foreign corporations that could follow TransCanada’s lead and challenge our environmental protections in unaccountable tribunals.
Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, said: “The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline was a huge victory for our climate and for everyone who organized, marched, rallied, and spoke out to stop this polluting project. Now we’re being asked to pay the price because of unfair trade rules that give corporations the upper hand. Congress should reject the toxic Trans-Pacific Partnership that would expand these rules to even more polluters. We need a new model of trade that puts communities and the environment above corporate profits, not another polluter-friendly trade deal.”
Jane Kleeb, Director of Bold Nebraska, said: “A secret court that lets Big Oil sue American taxpayers whenever they do not get their way is a bad deal. Farmers and ranchers are tired of politicians making secret deals that trade away our property rights. We call on Congress to do the right thing and vote against the TPP and to stand up for a fair economy that protects the land and water.”
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network, said: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) trumps the sovereignty rights of our Tribal governments to protect our territorial jurisdictions from potential environmental contamination and exploitation. The TPP is cloaked in secrecy violating the policy of consultation with our Tribal nations and communities that historically been on the frontlines of unsustainable extractive industrial development and environmental injustice. The Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation, the Oceti Sakowin fought long and hard against the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, achieving success in its presidential rejection. However, TransCanada now hopes to use a trade agreement to have America foot the bill of it’s failed multi-billion dollar project, demonstrating how such agreements pander to the deep pockets and interests of Big Oil. Our network of Native-Indigenous Peoples rejects the investor-state clause of the TPP that further sets precedence for private corporations to ignore governmental environmental review processes and to escape financial responsibilities”
Jason Kowalski, 350.org US Policy Director, said: “Climate leadership means keeping fossil fuels in the ground, not signing trade deals that block further climate action. The TPP is a major backtrack on the climate progress the Obama administration has made, from rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline on climate grounds to implementing a coal moratorium on public lands. This toxic trade deal would misappropriate power to TransCanada and the rogue fossil fuel industry at the expense of people and planet.”
Ben Schreiber, Friends of the Earth, Climate and energy program director said: “Climate scientists have made it clear that the world must keep more than 80 percent of the world’s fossil fuels in the ground. Yet trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership would provide polluters with a new corporate bill of rights to ensure their profits. The absurdity of the Investor State Dispute Settlement system is exposed by TransCanada’s demand of more than $15 billion from the American people for protecting our air and water from their destruction.
You can view the letter here: sc.org/aZXUr
Organizations that have signed on to the report include:
350.org * Bold Nebraska * Center for Biological Diversity * Center for Food Safety *
Center for International Environmental Law * Clean Water Action * Climatetruth.org *
Community In-power & Development Association Inc. * CREDO * Dakota Rural Action *
Delaware Riverkeeper Network * Earthjustice * Earthworks * Energy Action Coalition *
FLOW (For Love of Water) * Food & Water Watch * Forest Ethics * Friends of the Earth * Grassroots Global Justice Alliance * Green America * Greenpeace * Hip Hop Caucus * Honor the Earth * Indigenous Environmental Network * Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy * Institute for Policy Studies, Climate Policy Program* Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) * MoveOn * Oil Change International * PeaceWorks * Physicians for Social Responsibility * Public Citizen Climate & Energy Program * Rainforest Action Network * Rising Tide North America * Science & Environmental Health Network * Sierra Club * SustainUS *
U.S. Climate Plan * Wica Agli * Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)