ICYMI: Upon signing, environmental groups denounce TPP

ICYMI: Upon signing, environmental groups denounce TPP

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a casino in Auckland, New Zealand yesterday, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman signed the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, setting the clock ticking for President Obama to send the deeply flawed deal to Congress. Upon the signing, conservation, wildlife protection, and environmental groups released the following statements:

Center for Food Safety executive director Andrew Kimbrell:

“This trade agreement will set food safety and environmental standards back decades,” said, at Center for Food Safety. “It will be a race to the bottom as governments are forced to sacrifice food safety regulations in order to appease multi-national corporations. We will join with our allies from labor to environmental groups to ensure that this treaty is not ratified by Congress.”

Center for Food Safety international programs director Debbie Barker

“This closed-door tribunal where attorneys can rotate between acting as judges and as advocates for investors is where corporations will test the language and intent of the TPP agreement. History shows us that corporations use these trade courts to lower standards on food safety, the environment, and workers. If Congress ratifies TPP it will be handing over more power to corporations and abandoning its duty to safeguard people.”

Defenders of Wildlife

“The TPP has just been signed, & we think this agreement still falls short for #wildlife.”

Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica:

“The TPP contains all the worst elements of previous so-called “free trade agreements” plus new provisions for dirty energy companies that care little about the existential threat posed by climate change. The TPP would trump the recently-concluded Paris accord on climate change because the TPP, like previous deals, can be effectively enforced by international tribunals with authority to levy retaliatory trade sanctions or unlimited awards of money damages. TransCanada has sued the U.S. under the NAFTA investment chapter for $15 billion for stopping construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama should renegotiate the TPP.”

Green America Food Campaigns Coordinator Anna E. Meyer:

“By signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, 12 of the world’s nations are obstructing democracy, corporate accountability, and environmental progress. The TPP puts our food system, environment, and human rights at risk, allowing any protections we have in these areas to be challenged by private tribunals without any public accountability,” said Todd Larsen, Executive Co-Director, Green America, “TransCanada’s Keystone XL lawsuit is an example of how corporations can use Investor-State Dispute Settlement arbitration to challenge responsible decision-making, solely for their own economic gain. TPP will further open the doors to such lawsuits, allowing large biotech and agribusiness companies to challenge international food safety, worker safety, and agricultural regulations—putting the health of people and the planet at risk.”

Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard:

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disaster for people and for the planet.  It’s a deal negotiated in secret that entrenches corporate power and bypasses our courts. The TPP actually creates incentives to export our environmental pollution — and its associated human suffering — to our global neighbors, rather than taking responsibility for finding safe solutions at home. If the TPP becomes law, it has the power to erode every environmental gain the movement has made in 40 years. TransCanada is just one of 9,000 corporations that will now be able to sue governments to undo protections for our air, water, land, and climate. This is a far cry from progress.”

Institute for Policy Studies Director John Cavanaugh:

“The White House is making a risky bet by signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It hopes to win more access to raw materials, cheap labor and burgeoning consumer markets in Asia for U.S. companies. But because the TPP allows foreign companies to sue our government over laws that protect workers and the environment, this administration is gambling with our jobs, our health, and our sovereignty.”

Institute for Policy Studies Climate Policy Program Director Janet Redman:

“This agreement would give thousands of corporations in TPP countries the right to take the U.S. government to court for passing laws to secure climate stability and protect our kids’ futures. The case TransCanada filed against us for saying no the Keystone XL pipeline should teach us a lesson – just because we’ve never lost a case before, we’re not immune to investor challenges. The bigger we bet on free trade, the more we have to lose.”

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) Director of International Strategies Karen Hansen-Kuhn:

“Multinational agribusiness companies want this deal—it provides them a framework to lower regulations and expand their market power in multiple countries. The future of this TPP is very much in doubt. Legislators and civil society in all TPP countries are not fooled by false promises. In farming, as in manufacturing, these trade deals have cost jobs and increased corporate control over our economies. TPP will double down on existing problems, and there are new provisions, such as bans on seed saving and expanding market access for agricultural biotechnology, that could make things worse.”

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) Climate Director Ben Lilliston:

“The TransCanada case is a red flashing warning sign about whose interests these trade deals represent. These same corporate rights provisions have successfully challenged rural communities’ democratic rights to limit fracking and regulate mining. This deal is literally in climate denial—the words climate change are nowhere in the text. Yet the TPP supports an extractive, climate-damaging mode of globalization that has led to mass deforestation, fossil fuel withdrawal and an energy-intensive industrial model of agriculture.”

Oil Change International Executive Director & Founder Stephen Kretzmann:

“TransCanada’s $15 billion lawsuit against US taxpayers – enabled by NAFTA – is a direct attack on the climate leadership demonstrated by the Obama Administration when it blocked the Keystone XL pipeline. We can’t afford even more broken trade agreements that put corporate interests above public good – that’s why it’s time to tear up the TPP.”

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune:

“The U.S. Trade Representative is gambling away our jobs, our clean air and water, and our future by pushing the polluter-friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership, so it only makes sense that it was signed in a casino and convention center. Signing the TPP is Russian roulette for our economy and our climate.

“Today’s trade rules are rigged, like a bad game of blackjack, to favor powerful big polluters and other greedy corporations. Just look at TransCanada. That Big Oil company is suing the American people under NAFTA for $15 billion as ‘compensation’ for the Keystone XL decision that spared us the threat of increased climate disruption and dirty, dangerous oil spills. The TPP sweetens the pot for many more foreign fossil fuel corporations, empowering them to follow TransCanada’s bad example of challenging our climate protections in private trade tribunals.

“Thankfully, it’s not too late to stop this toxic deal. Congress holds the trump card on the widely unpopular TPP, so now is the time to urge our representatives to reject the toxic trade deal and build a new model of trade that puts the health and safety of people before the profits of big corporations that are already polluting our air and water.”

350.org Global Managing Director Payal Parekh:

“The TPP is a fossil fuel industry handout. This partnership in pollution gives corporations the right to challenge any local government or community that tries to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The deal signed in New Zealand today makes a mockery of the climate agreement decided in Paris last December. If countries are serious about addressing the climate crisis, they need to stand up to coal, oil and gas companies, not reward them with new rights and privileges.”

350.org Policy Director Jason Kowalski:

“This toxic deal will be a stain on President Obama’s climate legacy. The TPP would expand the rules that TransCanada is currently using to sue the US government for $15 billion over President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This is like giving your opposing team in the Super Bowl the right to overturn the referees whenever they want. It’s bad policy, bad politics, and a bad deal for our country.”

350.org Global Communications Manager Hoda Baraka:

“This toxic and secretive agreement is not only a climate disaster, but a serious affront on democracy. The TPP serves the interests of corporations at the expense of people and planet giving them supranational legal powers to be enacted through private and non-transparent trade tribunals. But the might of our movement is greater than their money or manipulation and we will continue to stand up for a safe planet putting an end to such destructive agreements and the corporate interests behind them.” 


Bill Waren, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0746, [email protected]
Dan Byrnes, Sierra Club, (202) 495-3039 or [email protected]

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