No fracking way: New brief from Friends of the Earth Europe

Posted Mar. 14, 2014 / Posted by: Adam Russell

In a new issue brief, Friends of the Earth Europe and other allies detail the potential threats that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a massive trade deal currently being negotiated between the EU and the United States, brings to the efforts to control fracking (also known as hydraulic fracturing).

The scale of TTIP is huge, and threatens to roll back safety, health and environmental safeguards on food, chemicals and fossil fuels. The proposed investment chapter, if included in the final deal, would expand rights for foreign investors by allowing them to challenge regulations. Companies concerned that regulations will hurt their profits would able to sue governments for the cost of complying with said regulations, undermining efforts to protect communities, the environment and slow climate change.

As the fracking boom spreads in both the U.S. (see below infographic from the brief) and the EU, communities and grassroots groups seeking to protect their drinking water and the local environment are resisting the expansion. Several nations, such as France, and states have enacted fracking bans, and groups in California are advocating for the same. But the TTIP agreement's potential establishment of investor-state dispute mechanisms gives energy companies another tool in their attempts to thwart these regulations.

The brief "No fracking way: How the EU-U.S. trade agreement risks expanding fracking" explains how the proposed TTIP agreement favors transnational corporations over democratic processes and provides examples of ongoing investor-state lawsuits (under NAFTA) that threaten key fracking regulations.

Image credit: Friends of the Earth Europe

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