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)

Inequality.org | 2-Mar-2022
In the Gulf of Ulloa, a US treasure-hunting company turned seabed mining outfit poses a dire risk to the environment.
Le Vif | 28-Feb-2022
Le Traité sur la Charte de l’énergie (TCE) pourrait mettre en échec l’adoption de mesures structurelles ambitieuses de protection sociale visant à contrer la hausse de prix de l’énergie et à protéger les ménages.
Climate Home News | 28-Feb-2022
The German government has been worried about being sued by the fossil fuel companies behind the Russian gas pipeline under the Energy Charter Treaty.
CIEL | 25-Feb-2022
The ICSID announced their rationale for a decision to reject a non-disputing party submission (amicus curiae) filed by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).
The Times of India | 25-Feb-2022
The company, which is now known as Capricorn Energy PLC, in a statement said it has received "net proceeds of $1.06 billion", of which nearly 70 per cent will be returned to the shareholders.
Médias24 | 23-Feb-2022
Les parties sont parvenues à une transaction autour de 14 millions de dollars, au lieu des 450 millions initialement réclamés par le groupe américain.
Reuters | 23-Feb-2022
Monterra Energy plans to pursue legal action against Mexico and seek damages of about $667 million for the "unlawful" closure of its Tuxpan fuel imports terminal in the Mexican state of Veracruz for five months.
CCPA | 22-Feb-2022
Koch claims that Ontario’s abrupt cancellation of its cap-and-trade system in 2018 violated the NAFTA Chapter 11 minimum standard of treatment and expropriation clauses.
AFTINET | 15-Feb-2022
Environmental defenders in Thailand have slammed a decision by the Thai Government to reinstate formerly revoked mining licenses following a lengthy legal battle in an international arbitration tribunal.
Radio-Canada | 11-Feb-2022
Après l’entreprise TC Énergie, c’est maintenant le gouvernement albertain qui soumet une demande d’arbitrage en vertu de l’Accord de libre-échange nord-américain (ALENA).

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