When Corporations Sue Governments (NY Times)

By MANUEL PÉREZ-ROCHA

04rochas-master675 by Mitch Blunt

(Artwork by Mitch Blunt)

In 2004, the Pacific Rim mining company applied to dig for gold in El Salvador. Pacific Rim (since acquired by the Canadian-Australian company OceanaGold) assured the government of then-President Antonio Saca that its work would be eco-friendly and would generate jobs. But with 90 percent of the country’s surface water contaminated, and fearing damage to the Lempa River — an essential source of water for El Salvador’s 6 million people — the administration failed to approve the proposal. In 2008, Mr. Saca instituted a moratorium on new mining permits; to date, this has been maintained and is widely popular.

Pacific Rim fought back in 2009, filing a $77 million lawsuit with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Icsid), a World Bank-affiliated institution in Washington that facilitates arbitration between governments and investors. The case was brought under a 1999 Salvadoran investment law, according to which foreign companies could take the Salvadoran government to international arbitral tribunals. (To read more, click here.)

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SECOND MUNICIPALITY DECLARED FREE OF METAL MINING IN EL SALVADOR (stopesmining.org)

Stopesmining photo

Territorial organization to strengthen local democracy a key strategy for anti-mining activists in the country’s unpredictable political environment.

The municipality of San Isidro Labrador was declared free of mining after 98.74% of the registered voters who cast a ballot in a referendum held on Sunday November 23 said no mining.

This is the second municipality to hold a local mining consultation in the region that has since 2004 been impacted by four known mining exploration concessions covering an area close to 200 square Kilometres.

“Information gathered from the ministry of the economy tell us that more than 10 municipalities are directly affected by proposed mining projects in the department Chalatenango” states Marcos Galvez, president of CRIDPES, a local community development organization that has worked in the area for over three decades and is now leading the Territories Free of Mining campaign with support from the National Roundtable against Mining and international solidarity organizations.

Last year, CRIPDES’ organizers began to implement a multi layered organizing strategy to coordinate efforts with local community organizations in each municipality affected by mining in the region to organize, educate and collect signatures in order to petition municipal councils to hold consultations on mining. (To read more, click here.)

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Please sign – The People of Clyde River, Nunavut takes on the oil industry. (GREENPEACE CANADA)

via Greenpeace Canada

Something big is happening in one of the tiniest, most remote places in the world: the people of Clyde River, Nunavut — a hamlet of just 900 people — are taking the Canadian government to court.

The National Energy Board, a federal energy regulator, has recently approved a five-year search for oil off Clyde River’s coast, allowing seismic testing — a process of firing explosions through the ocean to find oil — as a first step towards dangerous Arctic oil drilling.

How loud are these explosions? Imagine standing underneath a jumbo jet as it takes off — only you can’t cover your ears to block out the sound. Add your voice to help Clyde River keep the oil industry out of Canada’s Arctic.

Incredibly, 80-90% of the world’s narwhal population lives off the coast of Clyde River, and these explosions can disrupt their migration paths, sometimes causing permanent hearing loss, and in the worst case, death. The people of Clyde River aren’t going to stand by and let this happen.

It took a great deal of courage and determination to launch this legal battle against the Canadian government. And the community of Clyde River is going into it hopeful with the knowledge that in 2010, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association successfully stopped seismic testing from happening nearby in Lancaster Sound.

We too are hopeful, as this important case has been described by Clyde River’s lawyer as “hard, but not unwinnable.” Hard, because of how much influence the oil industry has over the government, but winnable because we know that you are going to join us and stand behind this brave community. Add your voice, help Clyde River keep the oil industry out of Canada’s Arctic.

Posted in Environment and Health, Oh, Canada: Canadian policy | Leave a comment

Kinder Morgan resistance – Fundraising efforts

A group of dedicated land defenders have been protecting Burnaby Mountain on unceded Coast Salish territories against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. Kinder Morgan has served these land defenders with a $5.6 million dollar lawsuit.

There are two funds raising money for the legal costs of Burnaby caretakers and residents. Please consider contributing to each:

http://peoplesclimateconvergence.org/article/burnaby-mtn-legal-defence-fund

Though fundraising goals for costs of the initial injunction hearing have been met, the funds remains open for continuing legal costs of defendants against the outstanding civil suit.
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For more information:

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/kinder-morgan-slaps-burnaby-residents-multi-million-dollar-lawsuit

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/climate-change-and-freedom-expression-trial-kinder-morgan-lawsuit

http://peoplesclimateconvergence.org/we-stand-caretakers-burnaby-mountain

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(EVENT) Community dinner with Wixarrica indigenous representatives from Mexico

Saturday, November 29, 5:00pm @ Dogwood Centre (706 Clark Drive)

wirikuta

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(Event) ‘Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians’ – Film screening

huicholes

FREE Film Screening and Discussion

On November 28, Wixáritari representatives will visit UBC, on unceded Musqueam territory, for a presentation of the documentary ‘Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians’.

The director Hernan Vilchez and two Mara’kate (Huichol spiritual leaders), the father and son protagonists José Luis Ramírez and Enrique Ramirez, will introduce and discuss the film. Members of Stop the Institute (http://stoptheinstitute.ca/), a group raising critical questions about the new federal mining institute headquartered at UBC, will also be present.

This event is being organized by the UBC Social Justice Centre. It is endorsed by Mining Justice Alliance and the Forestry Graduate Student Association.

LOCATION: 098 Henry Angus Building, 2053 Main Mall, University of British Columbia

DATE/TIME: Nov. 28, 12:00pm-3:00pm

—- Film information —-

Wirikuta is one of the most sacred sites for the Wixáritari indigenous people of Northern Mexico, the place where the Sun first rose into the sky and the world was created. Every year the Wixáritari conduct a sacred pilgrimage of over 400 km, fasting and consuming peyote in order to commune with the ancient Gods.

Since 2009, multiple mining concessions have been granted by the Mexican government to multinational corporations to exploit the area of Wirikuta. La Luz Silver Project is a proposed venture by Vancouver-based First Majestic Silver, which would effectively destroy these sacred grounds.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/huicholesfilm

NEW! 

The film Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians has won Best Documentary Film by the Red Nation Film Festival, the premier showcase for Native American and Indigenous film in the United States. The award was shared with The Life, Blood and Rhythm of Randy Castillo, by director Wynn Ponder.

The selection was the only Latin American film to be awarded.

More information on the film’s website here: http://huicholesfilm.com/en/?p=391

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We Stand with the Caretakers of Burnaby Mountain and and Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion

SFU Professor Lynne Quarmby Kinder Morgan blockade arrest w3000

(Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa)

We, the undersigned, express our support for those who are protecting Burnaby Mountain from Kinder Morgan geotechnical survey work.

Burnaby mountain is public land (on unceded Indigenous territories) that is used frequently as a recreational area and is a designated Conservation Area.

The City of Burnaby and its residents have been vocal for several years against Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline and terminal expansion proposal that would transport even more diluted bitumen and bring even more tankers to the Burrard Inlet.

Over 70% of Burnaby residents are opposed to Kinder Morgan’s expansion. (Source: http://is.gd/j79aOJ) Residents have been educating themselves through town halls, teach-ins and personal research and have determined that the risks to public safety and environmental degradation from Kinder Morgan’s proposal are too high. Many residents are no strangers to the harmful health impacts of tar sands crude given that the city was home to a terrible oil spill in 2007.

The City of Burnaby is currently in the process of appealing a National Energy Board decision that grants Kinder Morgan access to the designated Conservation Area. This is a critical constitutional question of whether a regulatory body can grant a corporation the authority to override municipal bylaws.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation have also launched a legal challenge of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tankers project. This is the first legal challenge by a First Nation against the new pipeline and tanker proposal, citing the federal government’s failure to first consult Tsleil-Waututh on key decisions about the environmental assessment and regulatory review of the project.

The pipeline facilitates Tar Sands expansion on Indigenous territories along the pipeline route and at the source. This would violate numerous Aboriginal Treaty Rights and the overall well-being of these communities, many of whom have already emphatically said no to Kinder Morgan’s expansion. As the Supreme Court of Canada has consistently upheld, it is the federal government’s duty to respect these treaties, as well as the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples living on unceded lands along the pipeline route.

Given all this, it should come as no surprise that community members are on Burnaby Mountain. These caretakers should not be facing an injunction or a multimillion dollar lawsuit by a corporate energy giant. Given the federal government’s failure to respond to residents, to Indigenous communities at the source of Tar Sands destruction and along the proposed pipeline route, and to municipal concerns, we laud these protectors for their bravery in taking a stand against Kinder Morgan.

Endorsements list and to add your group at this link:

http://peoplesclimateconvergence.org/we-stand-caretakers-burnaby-mountain

There are two funds raising money for the legal costs of Burnaby caretakers and residents. Please consider contributing to each:

http://peoplesclimateconvergence.org/article/burnaby-mtn-legal-defence-fund

Though fundraising goals for costs of the initial injunction hearing have been met, the funds remains open for continuing legal costs of defendants against the outstanding civil suit.

 

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