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)

IISD | 31-Mar-2022
En Marmato, el sistema de promoción y protección de la inversión extranjera facilitó la transformación del régimen de minería tradicional a pequeña escala a un régimen de minería transnacional.
IISD | 31-Mar-2022
A Marmato, le système de promotion et de protection des investissements étrangers a facilité la transformation du régime de l’exploitation minière traditionnelle à un régime d’exploitation minière transnationale.
IISD | 31-Mar-2022
In Marmato, the foreign investment promotion and protection system facilitated the transformation of the traditional small-scale mining regime into a transnational large-scale mining regime.
IISD | 31-Mar-2022
From March 1 to 4, 2022, ECT parties met for their 11th round of negotiations for a possible reform of the treaty but the meeting was overshadowed by rising energy prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
IISD | 31-Mar-2022
Les parties au TCE se sont réunies du 1er au 4 mars 2022 pour le 11ème cycle de négociations en vue d’une possible réforme du traité mais la réunion a été éclipsée par la hausse des prix de l’énergie et par l’invasion russe de l’Ukraine.
La Jornada | 29-Mar-2022
Pakistán ha sido forzado por el Banco Mundial y Barrick Gold a otorgar un permiso minero en contra de su voluntad soberana. México debe poner especial atención a este caso por la demanda en su contra de la minera estadunidense Odyssey Marine Exploration.
Razón Pública | 28-Mar-2022
Con la venta del 20 % del proyecto de oro Soto Norte a la multinacional Aris Gold, renace la tensión sobre las licencias ambientales en el páramo de Santurbán. Este es el problema de fondo, y esta es la solución que debe darle el gobierno.
| 28-Mar-2022
The question is whether states wish to cede a significant portion of their sovereignty to ISDS tribunals, giving them the authority to decide which state measures taken in the public interest are legitimate.
EU Observer | 24-Mar-2022
Environmentalists and energy experts have been warning for years over an obscure trade deal that could lock Europe into decades of fossil fuel use.
Diario Financiero | 21-Mar-2022
En 2019 el Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias Relativas a Inversiones falló que el gobierno de Pakistán debía pagar US$ 5.900 millones a la empresa Tethyan Copper Company.

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