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)

The Express Tribune | 3-Jan-2022
Pakistan federal govt officials tell lawmakers talks under way that may pave way for TCC’s Barrack to resume project.
Reuters | 3-Jan-2022
Chile’s state-controlled Codelco requested a second international arbitration process with Ecuador and its National Mining Company (Enami EP) over the Llurimagua copper project.
Market Research Telecast | 3-Jan-2022
Enagás considers that the future dividends of this project amount to 186 million dollars that would be added to the almost 400 million that it hopes to recover from the other arbitration.
IISD | 23-Dec-2021
L’analyse de l’approche existante adoptée par les tribunaux ne laisse que peu d’espoir quant à la capacité des tribunaux à comprendre et à appliquer le principe du développement durable.
IISD | 23-Dec-2021
The analysis of the existing approach adopted by tribunals does not give rise to much hope of ICSID tribunals’ ability to understand and apply the principle of sustainable development.
IISD | 23-Dec-2021
Dans sa décision finale du 25 janvier 2021, un tribunal CIRDI ordonnait à l’Espagne de verser des dommages-intérêts à des investisseurs allemands en indemnisation de la réduction d’un régime de subventions.
IISD | 23-Dec-2021
In a final award, dated January 25, 2021, an ICSID tribunal ordered Spain to pay damages to German investors in compensation for the clawback of a subsidy regime.
IISD | 23-Dec-2021
Le tribunal conclut en faveur d’une violation de l’accord de libre-échange Canada-Colombie et reporta sa décision sur les coûts au moment de rendre sa décision sur les dommages-intérêts.
Investigate Europe | 21-Dec-2021
Les négociations pour moderniser le Traité de la charte sur l’énergie (TCE) trainent en longueur et les gouvernements Européens perdent patience.
Investigate Europe | 21-Dec-2021
European governments are losing patience in talks to modernise the controversial Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), according to leaked documents.

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