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)

L’Humanité | 9-Jul-2021
Alors qu’a lieu un nouveau round de négociation pour « moderniser » le Traité sur la charte de l’énergie, 400 organisations de la société civile lancent un ultimatum pour sortir au plus vite de cet accord.
L’Echo | 8-Jul-2021
Un litige portant sur une raffinerie de pétrole et de gaz au Kazakhstan a amené à la justice belge à geler plus d’un demi-milliard d’euros de cette république sur un compte belge.
Le Figaro | 8-Jul-2021
Cairn Energy a affirmé avoir obtenu le droit de «geler» des biens immobiliers appartenant à l’Inde et situés à Paris, dans sa dernière tentative de récupérer 1,7 milliard de dollars qu’elle estime lui être dus par New Delhi.
The Tribune | 8-Jul-2021
The centrally located properties mostly comprise flats, valued at more than EUR 20 million, used by the Indian government establishment in France.
El Salto | 7-Jul-2021
Esta semana se celebra la sexta ronda de negociaciones para modernizar el Tratado de la Carta de Energía (TCE) que, según desvelan unas filtraciones de documentos oficiales de la Comisión Europea, no aspira a dar resultados reales para alinear el Tratado con los objetivos del Acuerdo de París.
Euractiv | 7-Jul-2021
Little progress has been made to modernise a controversial agreement on energy investments that activists warn could derail decarbonisation efforts in Europe and across the globe, according to leaked documents.
Common Dreams | 6-Jul-2021
TC Energy Corporation filed for compensation under a free trade provision that allows investors to sue governments if they impede profits.
Collectif Stop Tafta | 6-Jul-2021
400 organisations de la société civile lancent un ultimatum à la Commission européenne et aux États-membres les appelant à « sortir du TCE d’ici à la COP26.
S2B Network | 6-Jul-2021
More than 400 are calling on political leaders across all European countries to prioritise climate policies, to stick to their climate commitments, and therefore to initiate withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty by COP26.
L’actualité | 5-Jul-2021
TC Énergie a déclaré qu’elle réclamerait plus de 15 milliards $ US au gouvernement américain à la suite de la révocation d’un permis pour la construction de l’oléoduc Keystone XL.

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