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What's New – Global Trade Watch

  • April 25: REPORT: Trump's First 100 Days: Federal Contracting with Corporate Offshorers Continues (PDF)
  • April 25: Press Release: New Report Reveals Trump Is Not Punishing Corporations that Offshore American Jobs, but Awarding Them New Government Contracts

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TransCanada: Threatening Environmental Victory over Keystone XL Pipeline

In June 2016, the TransCanada Corporation launched an ISDS case under NAFTA demanding $15 billion in compensation because the corporation's bid to build a pipeline was rejected by the U.S. government. The $15 billion claim is five times more than the $3.1 billion that TransCanada says it already had invested in the pipeline project because the compensation demand includes the future expected profits that TransCanada claims it would have earned had the pipeline been allowed.

The proposed 875-mile pipeline – called the Keystone XL – was to transport to the U.S. Gulf Coast up to 830,000 barrels per day of toxic, highly-corrosive crude oil extracted from tar sands in Alberta, Canada. The pipeline would have transported one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet across more than a thousand rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands as it traversed six U.S. states.

Indigenous leaders, farmers, and ranchers in the path of the project stressed that a spill from the pipeline would threaten their lands and livelihoods, citing examples such as the 2010 Enbridge tar sands spill that poured more than 840,000 gallons of tar-sands crude oil into Michigan's Talmadge Creek and Kalamazoo River. Their concerns were bolstered by environmental and health experts who provided evidence during the course of various federal and state reviews of the project about how tar-sands oil development in Alberta, Canada already has devastated the land and water of Canadian First Nations communities, released toxic chemicals that poisoned and sickened these communities and threatened local species of fish and wildlife.

The pipeline also raised significant concerns with respect to its climate impacts. Over its projected 50-year lifetime, the pipeline would have generated up to 8.4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, an amount greater than the total annual greenhouse gas emissions of the United States. Tar sands are extracted through two carbon-intensive processes: (1) open-pit mining, which lays waste to millions of acres of carbon-storing Boreal forest, and (2) an even dirtier alternative of “in situ” extraction, which involves burning natural gas above ground to generate steam that is forced into subterranean pipes to melt out the bitumen from the surrounding sands with the bitumen then pumped up to the surface for further processing. If the pipeline were completed, it would have created new demand for intensified carbon-intensive tar sands extraction and processing as the purpose of the pipeline was to transport the tar-sands oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries for processing so finished product could be exported into the global market. Continue reading...

Civil Society Organizations Speak Out

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