When Corporations Sue Governments (NY Times)


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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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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Brazil’s Javari valley threatened by Peruvian oil, warn tribes (The Guardian)

Brazil Peruvian oil David Hill photo

Guardian caption: Matsés man Alesandro Dunu Mayoruna, from Sao Meireles village in Brazil, painted with achiote to receive visitors and talk about oil company Pacific Rubiales. Photograph: David Hill

An indigenous people whose territories are divided by the Brazil-Peru border in the remote Amazon say they are vehemently opposed to oil exploration on the Peruvian side and are prepared to fight companies in order to keep them out.

The Matsés’s main concerns are the potential social and environmental impacts of oil operations on both sides of the border, where they live in the far west of the iconic Javari Valley Indigenous Territory in Brazil and a 490,000 hectare legally-titled community in Peru.

“I don’t want to die contaminated or from some illness transmitted [by a company],” Waki Mayoruna, the head of a village called Lobo, told the Guardian on a visit to the Javari Territory. “If they don’t understand our no means no, there’ll be conflict that’ll lead to people being killed.” (Click here to continue.)


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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.

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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:


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.

For more information:




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(EVENT) Community dinner with Wixarrica indigenous representatives from Mexico

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


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


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


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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