Statement of Carroll Muffett on TransCanada Lawsuit Using the Investment Chapter of NAFTA

January 6, 2016 – Today, TransCanada filed a lawsuit using the Investment Chapter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to sue the United States for more than $15 billion. Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), a feature of some 3,000 Free Trade Agreements, gives corporations the power to sue governments for decisions taken in the broader public interest.


Carroll Muffett, President of the Center for International Environmental Law, issued the following statement:

What do foreign corporations want in exchange for the public’s opinion on environmental and social issues? 15 billion dollars.

Not content to be the poster child for the environmental and social catastrophe that is tar sands oil, TransCanada Corporation has now made itself the poster child for the democratic catastrophe that is investor state dispute settlement, or “ISDS.” With a single press release, TransCanada has proven what concerned citizens have argued for decades – that the primary purpose of ISDS is to subvert democratic processes and the public interest, in the name of private profit. It has demonstrated to the citizens of the United States, and the world, why these provisions have no place in new trade agreements. We encourage the Obama Administration to share a copy of TransCanada’s notification with every member of Congress and every US state legislator as evidence of just what the TransPacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership have to offer them. Millions of people were galvanized into action to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and to say, clearly and loudly, that it is not in the national interest. TransCanada demonstrates why ISDS demands the same response.