TTIP: Chevron Lobbied for Controversial Legal Right as ‘Environmental Deterrent’

US oil company wanted EU-US trade deal to give foreign investors the legal right to challenge government decision, documents show

By Arthur Neslen and cross-posted from The Guardian

Chevron lobbied the EU to give foreign investors the legal right to challenge government decisions in a major US-EU trade deal because it would act as a deterrent against laws such as fracking bans, the Guardian can reveal.

Environmentalists have long-warned that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’s (TTIP) investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) commercial courts risk a regulatory chill, with governments backing away from measures limiting fossil fuel extraction for fear of lawsuits. But this is the first time that a major oil firm has corroborated their fears.

Details of the US oil company’s lobby drive in Brussels two years ago emerged as EU and US negotiators sat down in New York this week to begin a 13th round of talks aimed at securing the TTIP deal. France and Germany have both previously said they want the access to ISDS removed from TTIP.

“ISDS has only been used once by Chevron, in its litigation against Ecuador,” say the minutes of a meeting in April 2014 between unnamed Chevron executives and European commission officials, which the Guardian obtained under access to documents laws. “Yet, Chevron argues that the mere existence of ISDS is important as it acts as a deterrent.”

Chevron has explored for shale gas in Romania and Poland in recent years, though it has since withdrawn the shale projects in both countries. The company is currently pursuing a $9.5bn suit against Ecuador’s government at an ISDS court in the Hague, for allowing indigenous people to sue the firm – for the same amount of money – over allegedly illegal practices dating back more than 20 years

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