Sierra Club Statement on Leaked Transatlantic Trade Deal Text

Environmental, climate protections undermined in leaked text

WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)–May 2, 2016.   Today, Greenpeace Netherlands released nearly 250 pages of leaked negotiation texts from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), revealing for the first time the U.S.’s position to undermine environmental and climate protections. The text, which fails to mention the words “climate change,” shows the deal would grant broad rights to corporations to undermine climate policies. The text also indicates that the U.S. is holding exports of natural gas as a bargaining chip to use to extract further commitments from the EU on services and investment. These documents reflect the deal’s text as of last month’s round of TTIP negotiations in New York.
In response, Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, released the following statement:
“This Transatlantic trade deal is heading in the wrong direction and would put President Obama’s trade policy on the wrong side of history. The U.S. should be leading on climate action, not using trade rules to allow dirty fuel corporations to pollute more. This leak, along with the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, shows the immediate need for a new model of trade that protects working families and healthy communities.”
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More information:
  • Read the Sierra Club’s report on the impacts of investment rules in the TTIP and the Trans-Pacific Partnership on our climate here: sc.org/climate-roadblocks  
  • “Climate change” is not mentioned once in the 248 pages of text, despite the fact that the text includes rules that would restrict the tools that the U.S. and EU could use to tackle climate change.
  • Under the National Treatment terms of the leaked text, the U.S. Department of Energy would be required to automatically approve the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU – the world’s third largest LNG importer. A note accompanying the text, however, indicates that the U.S. is holding exports of natural gas as a bargaining chip to use to extract further commitments from the EU on services and investment.
  • Both the U.S. and the EU have proposed “regulatory cooperation” rules that would undermine climate and environmental protections if they are deemed harmful to trans-Atlantic trade or investment. The U.S. has proposed that governments on both sides of the Atlantic should be required to review proposed regulations before enactment to pursue compliance with “international trade and investment obligations.” The EU has proposed similar language. The U.S. additionally proposes that corporations be allowed to “petition” a government for the “repeal of a regulation” on the basis that it “has become more burdensome than necessary to achieve its objective,” given its “impact on trade.”
  • An EU proposal in the leaked text would allow environmental labels and standards to be deemed “technical barriers to trade.” This could threaten labels designed to protect our environment, such as energy efficiency or climate footprint labels.
  • The text includes trade rules that have been used against “buy-local” policies that create local clean energy jobs and support clean energy entrepreneurs. At least 23 U.S. states have such programs. The EU has already successfully challenged such programs at the WTO based on rules that TTIP would replicate, providing an additional forum for such challenges.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
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