Anti-fracking activists from the northern Spanish autonomous state of Cantabria have translated our report on fracking and the Canada-EU trade deal (The Right to Say NO), co-written with Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute, into Spanish. La Asamblea contra la Fractura Hidráulica de Cantabria, part of the movement responsible for Cantabria’s ban on hydraulic fracturing (Spain’s first) in April, wrote the three author organizations this week with the good (and surprising) news.
Like us, the assembly is concerned that an investor rights chapter in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement could be used by oil and gas companies to challenge moratoria on fracking, or else sue countries or the EU for hundreds of millions of dollars (Euros) in compensation for lost profits. Despite the regional ban on fracking, the fight with Spanish energy firm Repsol is not over. The company put its first national shale gas project on hold this month because of the Cantabria ban, but Forbes reports that since the project would span the Castille and Leon regions as well, the final decision may be with Spain’s Industry Minister, who supports expanding domestic shale gas production.
In his blog post today, Council of Canadians political director Brent Patterson highlights statements by French President Francois Holland standing by France’s nationwide moratorium on fracking. This is on the eve of a challenge to the ban before France’s top court from Schuepbach Energy, which held two exploration permits when the law banning extraction was passed in 2011.
In Canada, shale gas firm Lone Pine Resources has threatened to sue Canada under NAFTA’s investment chapter for lost profits from Quebec’s moratorium on fracking in the St. Lawrence Valley. The case has drawn international attention to the excessive power that investment treaties and investment chapters in agreements like CETA give to companies to put pressure on governments or even overturn environmental and public health measures they don’t like. Thousands of North Americans have written to Lone Pine asking the company to drop its NAFTA lawsuit using a multi-organization action alert.
The Council of Canadians thanks La Asamblea contra la Fractura Hidráulica de Cantabria for translating The Right to Say NO and stands in solidarity with the people of Cantabria as they continue to resist fracking by Repsol or any other company.