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posted: 4/24/2014 5:01 AM

Trade partnership could damage environment

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In this week of Earth Day, people need to know about the dirty environmental truth behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- a trade deal currently being negotiated by 12 nations, including the U.S. The TPP stands to threaten existing policies that protect our air, water and climate. Thanks to a little-known provision called "investor-state dispute settlement," corporations would rise to the level of nations and be empowered to sue governments directly over environmental protections that they claim might hurt their profits.

Similar provisions in other trade agreements have allowed corporations to do this. For example, Lone Pine Resources is using investment rules under the North American Free Trade Agreement to sue Canada for $250 million. The crime? A moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, might slow down the greedy company from raking in more profits.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership could also threaten clean air, water and land here in the United States. It would strip our government of its ability to manage exports of natural gas, opening the floodgates to more fracking here at home to satisfy foreign markets like Japan.

What lurks in the shadows of the pact may be even worse. After more than three years of negotiations, not a word of draft text has been officially released. If we truly want "a good agreement" that works for all Americans, we must see the full text so we can have real input before it's too late.

Sherrie Marchi

Palatine

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