The Huffington Post has obtained secret texts from the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal. According to the Huffington Post, Europe wants the U.S. to “expand U.S. fracking, offshore oil drilling and natural gas exploration.” In particular,
“Exports of energy goods to the other Party shall be deemed automatically to comply with any conditions and tests foreseen in the Parties’ respective legislation for the granting of export licenses,” the memo reads, defining “energy goods” as “coal, crude oil, oil products, natural gas, whether liquefied or not, and electrical energy.”
Environmentalists worry about this for several reasons, including:
- It could mean that the U.S. Congress could lose control over environmental and other regulations, including regulations of fracking.
- Currently there are restrictions on exports of gas and oil, for various reasons including energy security and keeping prices down.
- This encourages trade in “energy goods” defined entirely as fossil fuels, deemphasizing wind, solar, biofuels and other alternatives.
- This trade deal could cause the release of billions of tons more carbon into the air, dramatically increasing climate problems.
This Is Not The First Such Leak
Last year Wikileaks obtained a draft of a chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We learned from the leak that the U.S. was “pushing hard to get strong ‘protections’ for giant telecommunications companies and pharmaceutical patent-holders.” Some of the things our own government negotiators were pushing for had previously been rejected by Congress. So TPP, if allowed to take effect, would override what our own Congress wanted in favor of the wishes of giant corporations.
So another leak of another secretly negotiated treaty reveals another assault on our ability to make our own laws and another boost for the largest (and dirtiest) corporations.
One solution would be to put groups representing consumers, environmentalists, labor and other citizen “stakeholder” interests “at the table” on an equal basis with the giant corporations, or even on a higher level.
Another solution would be to ban government trade negotiators (and anyone else in government) from taking any job with a significantly higher pay rate for five or ten years after leaving government. This would remove the incentive to, for example, negotiate as if you already work for and receive a fortune from a giant corporation, knowing you will soon.