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)

Métro | 27-Jun-2016
La société TransCanada réclame au gouvernement américain plus de 15 milliards $ en dédommagement pour son refus d’autoriser le projet d’oléoduc Keystone XL.
Financial Post | 27-Jun-2016
TransCanada Corp. made good on its threat to challenge the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, filing a request for arbitration under NAFTA to recoup US$15 billion in damages from the U.S. government.
Listin Diario | 24-Jun-2016
A raíz de este proceso el Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales está revisando todos los procedimientos relativos a las autorizaciones ambientales con la finalidad de actualizarlos.
ISDS Blog | 24-Jun-2016
The claimant in this case was Mesa Power Group LLC, a U.S. corporation that oversees and develops renewable energy projects, notably in the wind sector.
Minería en Línea | 22-Jun-2016
La empresa Exploraciones Mineras de Guatemala, S. A. (Exmingua) amenaza hoy con colocar una demanda contra el Estado de Guatemala tras verse obligada a suspender sus operaciones por decreto de la Corte de Constitucionalidad (CC).
Huffington Post | 22-Jun-2016
From the salmon-spawning waters of Alaska to the cloud forests of Ecuador, communities are standing up to mining projects that threaten their health, environment, and livelihoods.
Morning Star | 22-Jun-2016
Churchill Mining PLC said it has been informed a ruling on its ongoing tribunal with Indonesia is expected in September.
Upside Down World | 21-Jun-2016
The long-running struggle of rural communities in Guatemala against the United States-based mining firm Kappes, Cassiday, and Associates (KCA) continues in Guatemala’s national courts.
Prensa Latina | 20-Jun-2016
The Guatemala Mining Explorations (Exmingua) threatens with filing a lawsuit against Guatemala after being forced to suspend operations by decree of the Constitutional Court .
Inquirer | 17-Jun-2016
The Philippine government seeks to resolve the international arbitration case with operators of the Malampaya gas platform led by Royal Dutch Shell plc.

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