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)

CIAR Global | 7-Sep-2021
Talos acusa a la Sener de violar el Acuerdo Estados Unidos-México-Canadá (USMCA) y al Tratado Bilateral de Inversión entre México y la Unión Económica Belgo-Luxemburguesa (BLEU-BIT).
La Tribuna | 7-Sep-2021
El Artículo 12.8 del Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) entre Honduras y Colombia, establece “la expropiación indirecta”, como mecanismo de protección de inversiones y que juega a favor de la Empresa Energía Honduras (EEH) en un posible litigio con el Estado, prevén juristas.
Mexico News Daily | 7-Sep-2021
Houston-based Talos Energy intends to fight the decision by the Energy Ministry to designate the state oil company Pemex as the operator of the Zama field, which contains almost 700 million barrels of oil.
Zone Bourse | 7-Sep-2021
Le gouvernement indien s’efforce de résoudre ce problème le plus rapidement possible et vise une conclusion dans les prochaines semaines, a déclaré le directeur général de Cairn.
Mint | 7-Sep-2021
Cairn Energy will drop litigations to seize Indian properties in countries ranging from France to the US, within a couple of days of getting a $1 billion refund resulting from the scrapping of a retrospective tax law.
Mining Law Canada Blog | 6-Sep-2021
These decisions have the potential to significantly impact companies with current and future mining and development licences where there are questions around environmentally sensitive areas.
CNCD 11.11.11 | 6-Sep-2021
La Cour de justice de l’Union européenne a déclaré que les affaires de règlement des différends entre investisseurs et États sur la base du Traité sur la Charte de l’énergie ne sont « pas applicables » au sein de l’UE.
Client Earth | 2-Sep-2021
Environmental organisations have hailed a court decision that could mean the end of a little-known legal mechanism that poses a massive threat to climate action.
OpinioJuris | 26-Aug-2021
The new resource extraction regime continued to consolidate through the approval of new development plans, new standards, and the signing of international investment agreements.
Reuters | 24-Aug-2021
A US government watchdog found multiple problems with the construction, manufacture and design of the Keystone pipeline.

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