April 16, 2015—You may have heard about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement that many are concerned would imperil American jobs.
But there’s another problem with TPP. Something important is missing: protection for our environment.
Whether it’s protection against global threats to our climate, forests, wildlife, oceans or air quality, or enforcement of existing standards, the TPP falls short. That’s because the agreement asks very little of some of the world’s worst environmental actors, lacks meaningful enforcement, and will speed up natural gas exports, leading to more polluting fracking operations here at home.
It’s bad enough that fossil fuel barons and GOP climate-deniers succeeded in removing any provisions on global warming from the TPP. What’s worse, dirty energy companies will use the new trade rules to challenge state and local laws that they don’t like. We’ve seen this before: similar rules in previous trade agreements let a
foreign company challenge California’s law protecting our groundwater supplies from the volatile gasoline additive MTBE, challenge a law in Mexico that would’ve stopped a toxic waste facility, and challenge a Canadian ban on chemical waste exports—we already know that oil, gas, and mining companies are lining up to use the TPP to overturn countless environmental safeguards.
On top of all these substantive problems, the TPP is being worked out in secret – meaning the bad provisions could get even worse, and we may not know the full consequences for the environment until it’s too late. That’s why I’m opposing “fast track” status for this flawed agreement.
Endangered species, our ocean ecosystems, our air quality, our fragile climate – all of these things could be harmed if TPP moves forward without major changes.