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)

Mint | 4-Nov-2021
The settlement is under the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, introduced this year to put an end to 17 tax disputes India has with multinational companies like Cairn and Vodafone Plc.
Interfax | 3-Nov-2021
SREW N.V., an open joint-stock company registered in Belgium, which owns 75% of the charter capital of Dnipro-Buzka wind plant LLC, has initiated arbitration against Ukraine.
Inequality.org | 2-Nov-2021
Allowing oil, mining, and gas companies to continue to file expensive lawsuits over environmental regulations could undermine whatever agreements might be reached in the COP26 in Glasgow.
Bloomberg | 29-Oct-2021
Coal plant owners are using this little-known mechanism to try and recoup billions from governments who are forcing them to shut down polluting plants
Global Justice Now | 28-Oct-2021
Courts allow big polluters to sue governments into “a state of climate paralysis”, campaigners say.
Attac | 28-Oct-2021
Une nouvelle publication révèle que cinq entreprises de l’énergie poursuivent des États pour leur politique climatique en leur réclamant 18 milliards de dollars de compensation.
The Nelson Daily | 28-Oct-2021
Rules accepted under various trade and investment agreements often benefit destructive, extractive industries to the detriment of national and international climate goals and ambitions.
TNI | 26-Oct-2021
En los últimos 10 años el Estado español ha recibido más demandas de arbitraje de inversión que cualquier otro Estado. Con 50 casos en total, es hoy el segundo país en el mundo con más demandas en tribunales arbitrales internacionales.
Collectif Stop Tafta | 25-Oct-2021
L’investisseur russe porteur du projet minier réclame 4 milliards € de réparation à la France.
Mediapart | 23-Oct-2021
L ’actionnaire majoritaire du projet minier de la Montagne d’or demande à l’État français de l’indemniser pour non-respect de ses investissements. Une procédure d’arbitrage international est en cours.

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