Deadly price of making a profit

Times Union | April 8, 2014 | LTE by Janet Spitz, Ph.D.

Global Partners’ oil burners, NAFTA, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership all share one thing in common: They agree that no law or regulation shall infringe on the potential profit of a firm.
Canada was forced to permit railroads carrying highly flammable crude through densely populated areas because, under NAFTA, diverting these trains to less-populated routes added miles and expense to transportation costs, reducing corporate profits. Thus, the tragedy taking dozens of lives last year.
Global Partners now asserts that no government agency or citizens group can block their construction of an oil warmer next to the Port of Albany. Why? Because it will negatively impact the profit they might otherwise make.
This requirement that corporations can sue municipalities, states or even nations for the right to potential profit has been honored time and again under NAFTA, for example requiring Mexico to permit toxic dumping in its largest wildlife refuge (it would be too far and too costly for the firm to dump toxins elsewhere, the NAFTA tribunal agreed).
Let’s not enshrine that clause in the Trans-Pacific Partnership now under negotiation, or else we’ll see more activity of the Global Partner variety, and we will have no right to say “no.”
Janet Spitz, Ph.D.
Associate professor of business, The College of Saint Rose

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PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.