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Brune writes: "On June 24, foreign oil company TransCanada filed a lawsuit against the U.S. under NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, arguing that the U.S. rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline violated NAFTA's broad rights for foreign investors by thwarting the company's 'expectations.' As compensation, TransCanada is demanding more than $15 billion from U.S. taxpayers."

Workers installing an oil pipeline. (photo: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg)
Workers installing an oil pipeline. (photo: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg)

TransCanada Files NAFTA Suit Demanding More Than $15 Billion for Keystone XL Rejection

By Michael Brune, EcoWatch

25 June 16


n June 24, foreign oil company TransCanada filed a lawsuit against the U.S. under NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, arguing that the U.S. rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline violated NAFTA’s broad rights for foreign investors by thwarting the company’s “expectations.” As compensation, TransCanada is demanding more than $15 billion from U.S. taxpayers.

TransCanada’s case will be heard in a private tribunal of three lawyers who are not accountable to any domestic legal system, thanks to NAFTA’s “investor-state” system, which is also included in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The controversial TPP would empower thousands of additional corporations, including major polluters, to follow TransCanada’s example and use this private tribunal system to challenge U.S. climate and environmental policies.

TransCanada’s Request for Arbitration follows the Notice of Intent to submit a claim to arbitration that it filed on Jan. 6.

TransCanada’s attempt to make American taxpayers hand over more than $15 billion because the company’s dirty Keystone XL pipeline was rejected shows exactly why NAFTA was wrong and why the even more dangerous and far-reaching Trans-Pacific Partnership must be stopped in its tracks.

The TPP would empower thousands of new firms operating in the U.S, including major polluters, to follow in TransCanada’s footsteps and undermine our critical climate safeguards in private trade tribunals. Today, we have a prime example of how polluter-friendly trade deals threaten our efforts to tackle the climate crisis, spotlighting the need for a new model of trade model that supports rather than undermines climate action. We urge our members of Congress to learn from this historic moment and commit to reject the TPP.

Here’s more information on the TPP:

  • Environmental opposition to the TPP is mounting. Earlier in June, more than 450 environmental, landowner, Indigenous rights, and allied organizations sent a letter to Congress warning that pending trade deals like the TPP threaten efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

  • Read the Sierra Club’s report on how the TPP would roughly double the number of corporations that could follow TransCanada’s example and challenge U.S. safeguards in private, unaccountable tribunals.

  • The corporations that would gain this ability include hundreds of foreign-owned fossil fuel firms, such as the U.S. subsidiaries of BHP Billiton, one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters and one of the U.S.’s largest foreign investors in fracking and offshore drilling.

  • The TPP would nearly double the number of foreign fracking firms that could challenge new U.S. fracking restrictions in private tribunals.

  • The deal also would enable oil and gas corporations with nearly 1 million acres’ worth of U.S. offshore drilling leases to use this private tribunal system to try to undermine new restrictions on offshore drilling.

  • No prior U.S. trade deal has granted such broad rights to corporations with such broad interests in maintaining U.S. fossil fuel dependency. your social media marketing partner


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+28 # RnR 2016-06-25 16:40
Oh just be patient, Hillary will ok it as soon as, and if, she's elected.
+22 # Texas Aggie 2016-06-25 21:46
After all, she originally approved it when she was SOS. Then when it became politically expedient to oppose it, she changed her mind. Once in office there is nothing to prevent her from changing her mind again. And she'll use the excuse that she was forced to do it by NAFTA, which she pushed for when her hubby was president.
+19 # Radscal 2016-06-25 16:59
But the Brits are idiots for voting to pull out of this neoliberal, Global Fascist Free Trade World Order?
+3 # Texas Aggie 2016-06-25 21:49
Except that's not what the Brits voted for. GB is run by the some neoliberal Global Fascist Free Trade World that we are and London is the center point for that cabal in Europe. So no matter whether they were part of the EU or not, they are under the same domination.

What the Brits voted for was a nativistic, xenophobic refusal to change their society from when Britain ruled the waves.
+12 # Radscal 2016-06-26 00:33
Yeah, I've read a lot of corporate media articles saying exactly that.

But, when I go to the alternative sites, I find that, while there is definitely a xenophobic, racist group who voted for Brexit, the hundreds of thousands of Brits who have been in the streets protesting against the Free Trade Acts and IMF-imposed austerity for years now, and who recently elected Jeremy Corbyn are who pushed Brexit through.

But to your greater point, it's absolutely true that the City of London banking cabal runs Britain, the EU and much of the world. And deciding that Brexit was a wise or useful attempt to get out from under that is definitely a questionable choice.

Bottom line though, is that President Obama warned the Brits before the vote that if they voted for Brexit, then GB would have to go "to the back of the queue" to get another "Free Trade Agreement."

Brexit pulled the Brits out of the very same disastrous FTAs that you and I agree are horrible.
-1 # MissMarple 2016-06-26 06:37
The under 40, college educated, Scotland, and Northern Ireland voted to stay. It is likely that there will be another vote in Scotland as to staying or leaving Britain will take place now. The main reason to stay was to stay in the EU. Now that reason is gone, Scotland might try to be a member by itself.

It is unlikely, but perhaps Northern Ireland and Ireland can find a formula for them to join, as Ireland is in the EU, and Northern Ireland could vote to leave also.

Nothing will prevent EU from placing teriffs on English goods, or demanding those goods comply with EU rules to be sold there, just like chicken cage rules must be followed, if you want to sell your eggs in California, EU rules and regulations will still apply.
+7 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-06-26 10:48
Quoting MissMarple:
Nothing will prevent EU from placing teriffs [sic] on English goods, or demanding those goods comply with EU rules to be sold there

Typical of the EU attitude that THEY are the only ballgame in town. GB can and does sell to the whole world, always paying whatever tariffs are imposed by importing countries. If members of the EU decide to impose exorbitant tariffs on GB’s goods, GB will simply increase trade with its other trading partners. Additionally, if the EU decided to impose extra, retaliatory export fees on its own members who wish to sell to GB, I suspect that ploy would meet with substantial resistance from those members who enjoy good profits from exports to GB.

I don’t know much about the EU but I did pay attention in my European history classes some 55 years ago. Europe is comprised of a plethora of diverse peoples, some of which make the Hatfields and the McCoys look like Romeo and Juliet. Getting all those people to agree to a sociopolitical union was a tremendous triumph of reasoned selfishness. However, it appears that the EU might have forgotten how many of the threads that hold it together are tenuous at best. Unless I miss my guess, that imperialistic “do it our way or else” could easily hasten the departure of more members. If the EU, like the US, has forgotten that political power is built on consensus, not bullying with sanctions and bombs, it could wind up like that once great Empire upon which the Sun never set.
+6 # Radscal 2016-06-26 11:42
# MissMarple, Yes, the polls show that Brexit was passed mostly by the working classes... the people who, like those here, are being most hurt by neoliberalism.

And yes, there are rumblings about Britain breaking up over this. I would DEARLY love to see ALL of Ireland united in the Republic of Ireland.

And yes, if Brexit is allowed to happen, the EU/IMF masters would likely punish the Brits for their intransigence.

But I am not at all certain that the Financial Interests behind the EU will actually allow GB to secede.
+5 # lfeuille 2016-06-26 20:44
How many Brits have you talked to that you know this for a fact. I don't think that most of the people who voted for Brexit are that dumb. They have been screwed under neoliberalism and they know it.
+24 # Texas Aggie 2016-06-25 21:54
And this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why we cannot allow TPP to come into effect. Make that clear to your senators no matter if they are dickheads like Cornyn and Cruz or whatever flavor represents your state.

Anyone from Kansas HAS to contact Roberts and let him know in no uncertain terms that if he continues to push TPP, Koch support will do him no good. He will be spending more time with his family after his next election.
+9 # Billy Bob 2016-06-25 19:06


I haven't had time to comment much in the past week or so.

No problem.

On this article, you BOTH made every point I had to make for me. So why am I still writing? Just to say, "keep up the good work".
+5 # Radscal 2016-06-25 21:17
lol. Glad to read that all's well, and LOVED your comment.
+2 # RnR 2016-06-26 08:17
Thank you :)
+18 # dotlady 2016-06-25 22:37
Also add into the mix the planned rush to build LNG ports all around the US coastline to transport liquified natural gas abroad, which would be encouraged by the TPP despite the looming climate disaster. I seem to remember Jeb Bush has shares in BHP Billiton or a company that is building those huge LNG tankers. Ditch the TPP and the Oil/Gas cartel. The TPP encourages palm oil trade and other things that will contribute to our finale.
+13 # Radscal 2016-06-26 00:42
I'd almost be surprised if Jeb! didn't own such stocks.

Susan Rice (whom Obama wanted to make the next Secretary of State until BENGHAZI!!! caused him make her National Security Advisor instead) owns millions of dollars of stock in Canadian fossil fuel corporations.

She even owns stock in Trans-Canada, the corporation behind the Keystone XL that is suing the US. This article talks about whether that would be a conflict of interest if she were SoS and pushing for the pipeline (as did HRC).
+17 # Thomas Martin 2016-06-25 23:07
Canada, like our own country, has good players and bad players. In Canada's case, a definitely bad player is "Trans-Canada", which only got to where they are through encouragement by, and complicity of "the US"!!! Now they're going to sue us. Fine! Even loosing that suit would be better than having to be force-fed Alberta's tar sands ... and Canadians are better off too without that pipeline!!!
+1 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-06-26 11:27
Quoting Thomas Martin:
Canada, like our own country, has good players and bad players. In Canada's case, a definitely bad player is "Trans-Canada"

TransCanada is behind the times. They appear to have forgotten that Canadians just elected a Liberal PM and put the Liberals in control of their House of Commons with 54% of the seats.

According to The Tyee [1] citing an IMF report [2], oil & gas companies in Canada enjoy as much as $34 billion annually in subsidies, tax breaks, and other considerations. Should TransCanada persist in this lawsuit, a friendly suggestion from the US regarding neighborly relations combined with the pro-sustainable energy positions of Canada’s Liberal Party could result in TransCanada wishing it hadn’t put greed before “doing the right thing.”

+3 # lfeuille 2016-06-26 20:51
That Liberal PM supported TransCanada during the election.
+2 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 08:26
That "Liberal PM" is also a supporter of the TPP.
-3 # Dred Pierce 2016-06-26 01:12
The British youth are stupid. TPP and NAFTA are what happen when the multinational thieves like the IMF and World Bank have run out of dictators from poor countries to corrupt so they can foreclose and pillage the natural resources. They are now turning their stinking eyes on the richest prizes. Us. I will vote for Donald Trump because he is ambiguous about embracing corporate dominion bills and Clinton isn't. I would rather get to hell on a fast track than some EVIL WOMAN ease me into hell on the votes of stupid Black people. Nothing the future holds is more distressing than watching this EVIL PLOT happen in slow motion.
+4 # Barbara K 2016-06-26 09:05
The Frump will do absolutely nothing for us. He is in it for Donald Trump and no one else. He lies every time he opens his mouth, only fools fall for his nonsense. He has been involved in 3500 lawsuits, most still pending, and screws everyone he can.Taxpayers were already stuck with Millions of dollars for his 4 bankruptcies.

+5 # Johnny 2016-06-27 13:19
Yep. Trump is nearly as vile as Clinton.
+3 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 08:28
Agreed that Clinton is an evil witch. But you're delusional if you think Trump isn't evil.

Trying to determine which of them is "more evil" is a pointless excercise. They're both exceptionally evil that the concept of "lesser evil" has become ambiguous.
-13 # zach 2016-06-26 05:28
Good for TransCanada. I take no position on the Keystone Pipeline itself. But I do not like the process that was followed.
Obama knew from day one that he would not allow the "Presidential Permit" to be issued. But, he played on his enormous popularity with the public in general to accept it at face value when for years he kept saying, "I have not decided, we are still studying it." That was an outright lie. He intended to block it to build up Democratic Party support in the Environmental activist community. It was a political stratagem from the start. And, the Environmental community has bought the Kool-Aid.
+2 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 08:33
The only reason he kept saying "I have not decided" was because he was hoping the commotion would quiet down and he'd be able to secretly pass it through. He would have loved nothing more than to aid and abet the oil industry.

Obama is more pro-oil than even GW Bush. He granted rights to fracking companies to frack 57 MILLION acres of US land - more than 5 times what GW granted.

And it's not just "environmental activists" who're against this pipeline, and all other pipelines. It's pretty much everyone with common sense. I've been to the protests - it's moms, dads, grandparents, priests, nurses, firemen, teachers, etc.
+11 # jimmyjames 2016-06-26 07:30
Tell TransCanada to go suck an egg....
+2 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 08:34
Would love to - but those awesome trade agreements are designed specifically for these kinds of lawsuits. The TPP will make it much worse.
+9 # dotlady 2016-06-26 08:57
radscal - thanks for the reminder about Susan Rice's stock in Trans-Canada, and Enbridge as well. The article doesn't say whether she actually sold her holdings, only that she would comply with conflict of interest. The interlocking interests of the elite and the energy corporations is the basis for capitalism, right?
+5 # Radscal 2016-06-26 11:47
Glad you appreciated. I like to remind folks what bipartisanship really means (serving the same interests to attain the same goals).

That article was from 2012. Since BENGHAZI!!!! kept Rice from being appointed SoS, the issue of her holdings never became an issue.
+5 # Barbara K 2016-06-26 09:01
How about we file a lawsuit against them for the damage they already caused to the lands they destroyed when they had no permission to do it? About $30 Million might cover it.

+5 # Radscal 2016-06-26 11:51
Sorry, Free Trade Agreements only exert power in one direction.

Besides, I doubt if Trans-Canada did anything without the necessary permission/permits.

I honestly don't know why that particular stretch of pipeline became NEWS. When one looks at maps of already existing pipelines, and new ones already green-lighted to be built, that one little stretch of pipeline looks pretty insignificant.

And not having it simply means more "bomb trains" hauling that crap across the country. Leaving that crap in the ground is the only solution.
+2 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 08:40
Quoting Barbara K:
How about we file a lawsuit against them for the damage they already caused to the lands they destroyed when they had no permission to do it? About $30 Million might cover it.


I hope you meant $30 Billion, because $30 million doesn't even cover bus tickets to the protest sites. They probably owe more than $30 million in just unpaid taxes.
+7 # tedrey 2016-06-26 09:19
I might "expect" that the other guy is going to sign a contract, but if he doesn't, do I have the recourse to sue him?

When Trans-Canada failed to get permission to expand the pipeline, shouldn't their expectations have been that it wouldn't be completed? Shouldn't they be responsible for their own incorrect expectations?
+4 # Robbee 2016-06-26 09:26
what goes around! comes around! - the kock bros' - a/k/a trans canada's! - timing is impeccable! - they stirred a debate about dumping nafta! and derailing tpp - ttip! - doubling down during the prez campaigns!

this morning on "good morning america" - i watched the kocks roll-out their new ad campaign that! distilled! renewed the GOP's perennially promised! - perennially evaded! pledge to aid our middle class - remarkably, this time, visually targeted at young workers of color

it will be neat to hear hill and rump trying to talk more and more like bernie!

go bernie! and go dem!
-3 # Robbee 2016-06-26 09:31
than before friday, suddenly warren looks like a much better veep choice!
+2 # LionMousePudding 2016-06-26 13:50
+4 # angelfish 2016-06-26 22:03
May they live long and DIE waiting for ANY payment from Americans! 15 Billion Dollars? For WHAT? Oh, that's right. The privilege of poisoning our land, water and people! I DON'T think so!
+4 # Johnny 2016-06-27 13:42
Dream on. The bastards have NAFTA, the arbitration panel, and the U.S. Supreme Court on their side.
+2 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 08:41
...and the current president, and the most likely next one (Clinton).
+6 # ChrisCurrie 2016-06-27 05:04
The NAFTA "trade agreement" is UNCONSTITUTIONA L, because it is in fact a TREATY that requires at least a two thirds majority vote in the US Senate in order to be CONSTITUTIONALL Y ratified. This $15 billion lawsuit is an example of why this is so important. Such lawsuits will PROLIFERATE WILDLY if Obama's dishonestly promoted (and UNCONSTITUTIONA L) TPP/TTIP/TiSA rigged "trade agreements" get implemented.
+4 # Johnny 2016-06-27 13:43
Yes, Chris, except the Constitution means toilet paper to the Supreme Court.

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