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Lone Pine Resources urged to drop NAFTA lawsuit against Quebec’s fracking moratorium

Canadian, Quebec and U.S. groups have launched a public petition to urge oil and gas company Lone Pine Resources to drop a $250-million NAFTA lawsuit against Quebec’s moratorium on shale gas extraction (fracking). The petition, sponsored by the Council of Canadians, the Réseau québécois sur l'intégration continentale (RQIC), Sierra Club US and FLOW (For Love of Water), is being launched on the eve of the Lone Pine annual shareholder meeting in Calgary, Alberta.

“We’re asking Lone Pine to do the right thing and drop this outrageous NAFTA lawsuit against a completely legitimate, precautionary and publicly supported environmental decision by the Quebec government,” says Emma Lui, water campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “The people of Quebec demanded a ban on fracking and the Quebec government listened. Communities should not be penalized when governments live up to their obligation to safeguard people, water and the planet from harmful activities like fracking.”

In 2011, the Quebec government placed a moratorium on all new drilling permits until a strategic environmental evaluation was completed. When the current Quebec government was elected last year, it extended the moratorium to all exploration and development of shale gas in the province.

Instead of going to court, Lone Pine Resources, which is based in Calgary, is using its incorporation in Delaware to access the investor rights chapter of NAFTA to challenge the Quebec moratorium in front of a paid, largely unaccountable investment tribunal. The company says the Quebec moratorium is “arbitrary” and “capricious,” and that it deprives Lone Pine of its right to profit from fracking for natural gas in Quebec’s Saint Lawrence Valley.

The petition, addressed to Lone Pine's recently appointed CEO, Tim Granger, points out that Quebec's moratorium is “necessary to protect water, a public resource, based on both short and long term impacts and effects to other uses of water, the ecosystem, conservation and the health, safety and general welfare of communities.” The petition urges the company “to respect Quebec’s right and obligation under international trade law, including NAFTA, to protect its people and its sovereign right to set its own environmental and resource laws by dropping your NAFTA challenge to the fracking moratorium.”

To see and sign the petition: