INVESTIGATION FINDS INVESTOR-STATE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT UNDERMINES ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is an international arbitration procedure inserted into thousands of international treaties as a means to resolve disputes between countries and the foreign corporations operating within them. The system is written into thousands of trade and investment treaties, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But according to a BuzzFeed News investigation, under typical ISDS provisions, only companies are permitted to bring suit against the countries in which they work; countries cannot sue corporations. Moreover, the threat of legal arbitration has been used to exhort countries to comply with the company’s requests, which may undermine extant environmental law. For example, a former executive of a mining company told BuzzFeed that he threatened to use the system to sue Indonesia over a 1999 environmental law banning open-pit mining in protected forests. For the full story, see https://www.buzzfeed.com/chrishamby/the-billion-dollar-ultimatum?utm_term=.ia2Zv82Nj#.goLAM7382. For the story on how this relates to Indonesia's rainforests, see https://news.mongabay.com/2016/09/revealed-australian-miner-used-arbitration-threat-to-upend-indonesian-environmental-law/.