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)

| 10-Jan-2013
Spanish power grid operator Red Electrica said on Tuesday it had begun to seek World Bank arbitration over Bolivia’s expropriation of its transmission business TDE.
Public Citizen | 28-Dec-2012
U.S.-based Renco Group Inc. is trying to use the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to evade justice.
| 23-Dec-2012
The World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes has handed down a ruling against the Ecuadorian government, finding that it “unlawfully expropriated” U.S. firm Burlington Resources’ investments in two oil blocks.
| 26-Nov-2012
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MoPNR) has written a letter to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to persuade the Balochistan government to settle the Reko Diq issue out of court, fearing a penalty of Rs39 billion by the International Centre for Settlement Investment Disputes (ICSID).
| 16-Nov-2012
A US-incorporated energy firm, Lone Pine Resources Inc., is taking on Quebec’s stand against fracking, saying it violates the North American free-trade agreement and demanding more than $250-million in compensation.
Mining Weekly | 24-Oct-2012
TSX-listed South American Silver (SAS) on Tuesday said it had notified the Plurinational State of Bolivia of an investment dispute between the company and Bolivia, after the company’s subsidiaries had lost its mineral tenements.
| 2-Jul-2012
President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono is telling his ministers to prepare for the worst after the government recently entered into arbitration with an international mining company.
Reuters | 4-Jun-2012
Canadian company Pacific Rim can move forward under El Salvador law with a case against that country’s government for blocking a gold mining project, but cannot file suit under a regional trade agreement, a World Bank arbitration panel ruled.
| 24-May-2012
Churchill Mining (LON:CHL) said it has now filed for international arbitration in its dispute regarding the East Kutai coal project (EKCP) in Indonesia, 75 per cent owned by Churchill.
IISD | 13-Apr-2012
The arbitral tribunal in Chevron v. Ecuador has taken a series of steps in recent months suggesting that it has a broad view of its authority.

0 | ... | 1380 | 1390 | 1400 | 1410 | 1420 | 1430 | 1440 | 1450 | 1460 | 1470