Canada, clean water, con game, corporate lawyers, corporation, Crow Butte, dumping of radioactive food, environment, environmental degradation, environmental destruction, EPA, exploitation, Germany, government secrecy, indigenous peoples of America, International Trade, investment, ISL, Japan, legal loopholes, loopholes, Mexican migration, mining, NAFTA, Nebraska, NRC, open government, Penny Stock, Penny Stock Mining, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Rosatom, shakedown, South Dakota, Sweden, TPP, Transparency, uranium mining, Uranium One, US EPA, US NRC, vaguely worded provisions, Vatenfall, Vattenfall, White House
NAFTA seems to be one reason that the US government acts so helpless before the onslaught of Canadian penny stock and non-penny stock miners, who destroy the land and water with things like ISL uranium mining.
It is the back door, which has allowed Russian State owned, Canadian registered, Uranium One to buy up US uranium mines.
It explains the arrival of so many “Mexicans” who are actually indigenous peoples of America whose land is being exploited by the extractive industry, even as historic and current American Indian lands are being destroyed in the USA by mining, and land and water poisoned.
It does not, however, seem to explain why the US NRC and EPA are manipulating methodology and statistics against clean air and water – something which you can easily comment on at the Federal Regs web site until 27 May 2015 and it can be anonymous [See post bottom].
Canadian miner Cameco’s Crow Butte ISL mine, which has contaminated water at the Pine Ridge American Indian Reservation
Dave Johnson of the Campaign for America’s Future points out that the American people need to be able to see the actual TPP text. The very hiddenness should alarm all.
“The ISDS provisions of TPP leaked to Wikileaks and the New York Times earlier this year. What leaked clearly shows that corporations will be able to overrule U.S. laws and regulations.
So maybe the ISDS provisions have changed. Let We the People see the current ISDS provisions that the president says will not do this. The previously leaked provisions say they will, so they must have changed. But we can’t know until we see the text.” (19 May 2015, Dave Johnson). http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/05/19/let-public-read-completed-parts-trans-pacific-partnership Why should everyone be dependent upon Wikileaks? What happened to the Open Government Partnership? http://www.opengovpartnership.org
“The Investment Chapter highlights the intent of the TPP negotiating parties, led by the United States, to increase the power of global corporations by creating a supra-national court, or tribunal, where foreign firms can “sue” states and obtain taxpayer compensation for “expected future profits”. These investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals are designed to overrule the national court systems. ISDS tribunals introduce a mechanism by which multinational corporations can force governments to pay compensation if the tribunal states that a country’s laws or policies affect the company’s claimed future profits.” (25 March 2015) https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/press.html
While the wording “expected future profits” is not found upon a pdf document search, https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter/page-19.html it is the basis upon which Swedish State owned Vattenfall is suing the German government, behind closed doors. Vattenfall’s nuclear reactors were old and had operational issues. Lost revenue appears to have been largely a Vattenfall fantasy, but a fantasy which could cost the German government billions. It is essentially a Swedish shakedown of the German State: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/swedish-nuclear-hypocrisy-state-owned-vattenfall-is-still-suing-germany-for-4-7-billion-euros-for-closing-old-nuclear-reactors/ https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/swedish-government-nuclear-shakedown-of-germany-dumping-swedish-nuclear-waste-on-the-usa/
The White House discussion of the Vattenfall case appears muddled and confused: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/02/26/investor-state-dispute-settlement-isds-questions-and-answers About how much more are they muddled and confused? Are they really muddled and confused or just trying to muddy the waters and confuse? Most US politicians are lawyers. This is probably why they appear less clear, and less entertaining, than their British and French counterparts. The author, Jeff Zients, however, has only a B.S. undergrad in Poli Sci, so he may just reflect the functional illiteracy and laziness, which has increasingly grabbed hold in America over the course of the last 60 to 100 years. Normally, Poli Sci degrees are B.A.’s but if he says his degree is B.S., we believe him.
Penny Stock Shakedown?
The extractive industries are notorious for their up and down prices; penny stock miners are notorious fantasists who devalue their penny stocks simply to stay in business. Canada has much weaker standards of proof regarding the actual existence of anything to be mined and whether it can actually be economically mined. Hence, mining penny stocks are largely a con game, and where they actually do end up mining they often lack the means to do it correctly. All of the above conspires to make this into a rampage leading to the further destruction of the environment. Governments can give in and be forced to clean up the environmental destruction (or not) or pay up front. If this Wikileaks statement is true, it is a limitless mega-fleece, more enormous than the universe.
Here is the TPP Gobbledygook as leaked. On first read one might think that it will protect the environment. However, the statement “any measure otherwise consistent” appears to be one loophole: “Article II.15: Investment and Environmental, Health and other Regulatory Objectives
Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to prevent a Party from adopting, maintaining, or enforcing any measure otherwise consistent with this Chapter that it considers appropriate to ensure that investment activity in its territory is undertaken in a manner sensitive to environmental, health, or other regulatory objectives.” https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter/page-19.html
There are more apparent loopholes. They will keep corporate lawyers busy and well-paid. One can be certain that the interpretation of “arbitrary and unjustifiable” in the eyes of the corporate lawyer beholder, and “not inconsistent with this agreement” will be nefarious to either the environment or the taxpayer’s pocketbook. A “disguised restriction” is definitely a problem and will clearly be used to enforce Japanese dumping of its radioactive food on the world: “Provided that such measures are not applied in an arbitrary or unjustifiable manner, or do not constitute a disguised restriction on international trade or investment, paragraphs 1(b), (c), and (f), and 2(a) and (b), shall not be construed to prevent a Party from adopting or maintaining measures, including environmental measures:
(i) necessary to secure compliance with laws and regulations that are not inconsistent with this Agreement;
(ii) necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health; or
(iii) related to the conservation of living or non-living exhaustible natural resources.” (p. 12-15)
NAFTA’S NOTORIOUS INVESTMENT CHAPTER
“NAFTA’s notorious Chapter 11 on investment exacerbated the environmental impacts of the pact by further constraining and undermining environmental policymaking in North America. NAFTA’s investment chapter and the investor-state dispute settlement process within it has allowed private investors and corporations to challenge a startling number of non-discriminatory government policies related to the environment and natural resources in all three countries.
NAFTA’s investment chapter provided legally binding rules that governed a country’s treatment of foreign corporations, investors, and investments from another country. Among the most harmful components of the investment rules are vaguely worded provisions that guarantee investors a “minimum standard of treatment,” “fair and equitable treatment,” and the right to claim damages simply when the value of an investment has been reduced. When a corporation feels that its rights have been violated or that the value of its investment has been reduced by the introduction of a new law or policy, NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism allows foreign firms to bypass domestic court systems and directly challenge government policies and actions in private trade tribunals, such as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) at the World Bank and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
Since 1994, corporations have used Chapter 11 to challenge land-use, mining, energy, and other socially beneficial laws passed by the governments of all three NAFTA countries. By 2012, more than $350 million USD had been paid by Mexico and Canada to investors in a series of investor-state cases under NAFTA alone,70 and there are billions more in pending claims.71
A disproportionate number of challenges are launched against policies related to the extractives industry. As of March 2013, there were 169 cases pending at the most frequently used investment arbitration tribunal, ICSID, of which 60 (35.7 percent) were related to oil, mining, or gas.72 By contrast, there were only three cases at the ICSID related to oil, mining, or gas in 2000, and there were only seven such cases filed during the 1980s and 1990s.73
• On September 6, 2013, Lone Pine Resources, a U.S. oil and gas firm, filed a notice of arbitration to sue Canada for $250 million Canadian dollars under NAFTA.81 The crime: A bill passed by Quebec’s National Assembly that instituted a partial moratorium on shale gas exploration and development, including fracking, under the St. Lawrence River. According to Lone Pine representatives, the Quebec government acted “with no cognizable public purpose,” and violated the Enterprise’s “valuable right to mine for oil and gas under the St. Lawrence River,” despite the fact that (1) fracking fluids contain carcinogens and other toxins that are hazardous to human health, (2) fracking chemicals have been known to contaminate drinking water, and (3) fracking may have caused earthquakes in the past.82 Lone Pine, however, argued that its loss of a “stable business and legal environment” violated its minimum standard of treatment and should be counted as expropriation.
These and other examples show the types of policies that investors will challenge and have successfully challenged. More difficult to track are policies that will never get implemented for fear of attracting a costly Chapter 11 lawsuit. A recent European report on investor-state dispute settlement quotes a former Canadian government official saying:
“I’ve seen the letters from the New York and DC law firms coming up to the Canadian government on virtually every new environmental regulation and proposition in the last five years. They involved dry-cleaning chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, patent law. Virtually all of the new initiatives were targeted and most of them never saw the light of day.”83
The logic behind this “chilling effect” on government policy and legislation appears to have been internalized and made completely transparent by NAFTA countries. In Canada, for example, a Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation first introduced in 2005 requires all new environmental, health, and safety regulations to be screened by officials and trade lawyers for compatibility with international trade agreements.84 The result is inevitably that policies that might be necessary to protect the environment but might raise trade and investment challenges are discouraged at the outset.
Investor protections similar to the ones included in NAFTA have been replicated in hundreds of free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties since NAFTA.85 The result has been astonishing. By the end of 2012, corporations launched 514 known cases against 95 governments.86 Developing countries most often find themselves in the position of defending their policies against transnational corporations: 61 of the 95 countries facing investor-state disputes are from developing countries; 18 from developed countries; and 16 from economies in transition.87 The effects of these cases are harmful not only to the environment, but also to economies. Dispute-settlement compensations awarded to corporations in 2012 ranged anywhere from U.S. $2 million to nearly U.S. $2.4 billion (including compound interest), with many pending claims totaling in the billions of U.S. dollars.88
As a result of the NAFTA investment protection model, corporations have been elevated to the level of nation states, further eroding governments’ ability to regulate in the interest of communities and the environment.” (Emphasis our own) Read the entire report here: http://action.sierraclub.org/site/DocServer/0642_NAFTA_Report_05_web_high.pdf? (March 2014, “20 Years of Costs to Communities and the Environment”
Comment Deadline on Water Restoration for ISL Uranium Mining
There is a May 27th Deadline to Comment on new US EPA rules re In Situ Leach (ISL aka ISR) uranium mines. The new rules are supposed to require uranium mining companies to restore the water to its previous state or to the EPA clean water rules. This means that if the aquifer was initially cleaner than the EPA rules, that the post-mining aquifer would not be restored to its original state. If the EPA clean water rules are weakened then this allows still more pollution. Whereas for drinking water, the EPA allows dilution of contaminants in true NRC style, the aquifer itself would have to follow standards, unless they find a way to add water to the aquifer before testing, which they probably have.
Furthermore, there are huge loopholes due to methodological and statistical game playing by the US EPA-NRC.
It is unclear if application of radium to the land is going to still be allowed. It appears that it will be, however, since the final say for radionuclide exemptions is upon the US NRC. The EPA can only truly regulate things like the arsenic found in ISL mines.
This comment period was extended, it seems, because Cameco uranium (from Canada) and Russian State owned Uranium One (a Canadian subsidiary of Rosatom) requested an extension. They are worried that it might cost them money to slightly clean up some of the mess they make of US water. http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;rpp=100;so=DESC;sb=docId;po=0;D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2012-0788
Postscript: While the “Mexican” refugees, really the indigenous peoples of America, have more historical right to be in the US than most Americans, it doesn’t change the fact that it was in both their best interest and in the best interest of the US for them to be allowed to stay on their lands in Mexico and Central America. It is believed that many of the Mississippi Valley Mound builders went to Mexico-Central America, so they may be returning home. However, if they are to be allowed the right to return home, then all of the far more recent American immigrants of non-American Indian origins need to be allowed right to return to their indigenous homelands.