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)

Médias24 | 30-Nov-2015
L’Etat est moins intransigeant sur les formes. Sur le fond, il maintient ses exigences de garanties et de remboursement intégral des créances publiques.
IISD | 26-Nov-2015
Perenco Ecuador Limited (Perenco)—a French-owned oil and gas company—and the Republic of Ecuador have been involved in arbitration since 2008 under the France–Ecuador bilateral investment treaty (BIT).
El Diario | 24-Nov-2015
El economista José Ramón Mariño, de la organización internacional ATTAC, advierte de que si no se ponen salvaguardas, las empresas de Estados Unidos podrán vender en Europa sus productos sin cumplir normativas ambientales o sanitarias.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre | 24-Nov-2015
The smoke haze that has engulfed Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia for two months could violate international law and be the subject of an investment treaty claim against Indonesia.
L’Economiste | 23-Nov-2015
Avec la procédure engagée actuellement au Cirdi, l’actionnaire majoritaire espère obtenir le gel du paiement des dettes.
Fox | 23-Nov-2015
President Rafael Correa said that Ecuador had "practically" reached agreement on the payment of compensation to U.S. oil company Occidental Petroleum.
CIEL | 19-Nov-2015
Like TPP, U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) formed in the past two decades have similarly promised meaningful and enforceable labor and environmental safeguards.
Public Citizen | 6-Nov-2015
Long-awaited text reveals gaps between Administration claims and actual TPP terms on key public concerns
Todd N. Tucker | 4-Nov-2015
Ecuador has been partially relieved of its debt to Occidental, which constitutes a pretty legalistic and conservative application of property rights by a state appointee dissenter.
Lexology | 4-Nov-2015
The number of claims filed by renewable energy investors under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) has risen significantly.

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