Robert Reich: How can TransCanada sue the US for denying it the right to build a pipeline through our country?

TransCanada, the giant Canadian energy corporation headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, is suing the U.S. government for more than $15 billion for denying the company’s permit to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.

How, you may ask, can a foreign country sue the U.S. for making a domestic decision to protect the environment?

Because of a provision inside the North American Free Trade Act allowing Canadian and Mexican companies to take action against the U.S. if any of our regulations causes those companies to lose potential profits.

Neither I nor anyone else who was present when NAFTA was negotiated recalls how this provision was slipped into the deal.

But a much larger version of it appears in the pending Trans Pacific Partnership – representing nearly 40 percent of the global economy — allowing companies from any of the nations that sign on to the TPP to sue governments if health, safety, environmental, or other regulations result in lost profits.

Yet another reason why the TPP is a great deal for global corporations but a terrible deal for Americans and the citizens of other Pacific-rim countries.

What do you think?

Source: Robert Reich

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