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)

Ecologistas en Acción | 3-Dec-2021
El pleno del Ayuntamiento de Cádiz aprueba una moción instando al Gobierno de España a abandonar el Tratado de la Carta de la Energía (TCE).
TASS | 2-Dec-2021
Former shareholders tried to collect $50 billion from Russia.
Ascent Resources | 1-Dec-2021
the Company is now pleased to announce that it has signed a binding damages-based agreement with Enyo Law LLP which will be advancing the disbursements which are expected to be incurred in the pursuit of the claim.
Business Recorder | 1-Dec-2021
Pakistan and Barrick Gold PLC Canada are said to have started negotiations to settle the dispute on Reko Diq as Antofagasta of Chile is seeking financial settlement of their share in the award of $6 billion.
La Jornada | 25-Nov-2021
Las empresas extractivas no sólo son las que más utilizan el sistema de solución de controversias inversionista-Estado (ISDS por sus siglas en inglés), sino que también reciben las mayores recompensas.
CNBC | 24-Nov-2021
Five fossil fuel companies are already known to be seeking over $18 billion in compensation from governments over energy policy changes and most of these have been brought via the Energy Charter Treaty.
Radio-Canada | 24-Nov-2021
L’entreprise TC Énergie a déposé une demande d’arbitrage en vertu des règles de l’ALENA demandant au gouvernement américain une compensation financière pour avoir annulé la construction du pipeline Keystone XL.
Counter Punch | 24-Nov-2021
Extractive companies are the most frequent users of the investor-state dispute settlement system (ISDS), making up 29 percent of all ICSID claims in fiscal year 2021.
No TCI | 23-Nov-2021
Hay un escollo del que nadie hablará en la COP26 que puede minar cualquier acuerdo alcanzado estas semanas para reducir el uso de combustibles fósiles: el Tratado de la Carta de la Energía (TCE).
BNN | 23-Nov-2021
Developers of Keystone XL are seeking to recoup more than $15 billion in damages connected to President Joe Biden’s decision to yank a permit for the border-crossing oil pipeline even after construction began.

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