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An Explosion of Fracking: One of the Dirtiest Secrets of the TPP

Sierra Club TPP
Sierra Club and CWA join forces in Addison, Tex., to protest the 12th round of negotiations.

The Sierra Club has worked on trade issues for nearly two decades, because "trade rules have a huge impact on environmental protections." In 1998, for example, the World Trade Organization ordered the U.S. to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for sea turtles being killed in shrimp-fishing nets.

In an ongoing dispute, a U.S. corporation, Renco Group, is suing the government of Peru for $800 million under the free trade agreement between the U.S. and Peru. Why? Because Peru wouldn't give the corporation a third extension on its obligation to clean up pollutants and contaminants from a metallic smelter that Renco invested in. Another company, Lone Pine Resources, is using investment rules under NAFTA to sue Canada for $250 million. Why? Because a Canadian moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, might slow down the company from raking in more profits, said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.

Fracking is a dirty and violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations. Many communities and activists are protesting the damage being done to their health, water supply, homes and living conditions as a result of current levels of fracking. TPP is an enormous threat to efforts to stop the destruction being caused by oil and gas unconventional drilling and could lead to a significant increase in dirty fracking in communities across the U.S., Sierra Club says.


The Department of Energy now reviews the export of natural gas to other countries but would lose that authority under TPP. There is growing demand from other countries for the natural gas that is obtained by fracking in the U.S. The TPP could mean automatic approval of natural gas export permits to TPP countries without any U.S. review at all.

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