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VIEW: Trew and Lui call on Lone Pine to drop its NAFTA suit

This coming Wednesday May 15, Lone Pine Resources Inc. will hold its annual shareholders meeting in Calgary.

Just ahead of that meeting, Council of Canadians campaigners Stuart Trew and Emma Lui write in today’s Edmonton Journal, “Lone Pine is one of many energy companies charging into Canada’s growing but controversial hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) business. It’s also one of several companies that were hoping to extract shale gas in Quebec before the province passed a moratorium on fracking so that the environmental and health impacts can be studied.”

Lone Pine has threaten to file a $250 million investor-state claim against Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) unless Quebec backs down from its moratorium on fracking. “Lone Pine states in its notice of intent to file a NAFTA investment claim that the Quebec fracking moratorium is an ‘arbitrary, capricious, and illegal revocation of (its) valuable right to mine for oil and gas’. The company says Canada violated its right to ‘fair and equitable treatment’ and that the moratorium indirectly expropriates its investment opportunities.”

Trew and Lui comment, “It may seem unbelievable that a company’s ‘right’ to frack where, when and how it wants could overpower the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens from harm. It’s equally alarming that investment treaties could obstruct a community’s right to say no to fracking or other megaprojects that tax the land and water for the sake of profit — and not the public good. Unfortunately, the paid and largely unaccountable tribunals that hear NAFTA and other corporate disputes under similar investment treaties frequently side with the companies. It’s why energy and resource firms are increasingly turning to investment arbitration instead of national courts to force governments to either back down or pay them hundreds of millions not to frack, mine or build a pipeline.”

Our campaigners warn, “If Lone Pine decides to graduate its threat to an actual NAFTA arbitration, and if Canada either settles with the firm before it reaches arbitration or loses the case, it will crack the world open to fracking. At home and globally people want to move in the opposite direction.”

And they conclude, “Lone Pine shareholders will surely get an update on the company’s NAFTA case when they meet on Wednesday. We think the company should announce it is dropping its suit. That would be big news, and good news, too.”

To read their full op-ed, please go here.

For more, please read:
NEWS: Company launches $250 million NAFTA challenge against Quebec’s moratorium on fracking
NEWS: Trew says NAFTA fracking challenge contradicts Harper’s Canada-China FIPA promises
NAFTA challenge to fracking ban reason to avoid investor-state dispute settlement: Australian trade minister
CETA and fracking report makes an impact in Europe