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In the fall of 2013, American oil and gas company Lone Pine Resources sued Canada over a moratorium on fracking under the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.
Lone Pine claimed that the moratorium violated its “right to mine for oil and gas” as well as its right to a “minimum standard of treatment”—a guarantee enshrined in the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now the company wants Canada to pay $250 million in damages.
The trade case has not been resolved. But green groups warn that the challenge could have a chilling effect on efforts to enact environmental safeguards across the globe.
Many environmentalists also fear that the case offers a glimpse of what’s to come if a massive trade deal that President Obama is currently working to negotiate wins approval.