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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This entry was posted in Environment and Health, Pacific Rim, Social Costs, Private Profit and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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