Go Green or Go Home

Chapter 11 of NAFTA: Giving Companies the Right to Destroy the Environment May 1, 2013

Filed under: Awareness,Government — Mary @ 11:26 pm
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Disclaimer: This post contains the views of the author, Mary, and by no means is the opinion of every member of the staff at Bonsai.  Your opinions would be appreciated down in the comments section, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I repeat, this is not the view of the entire blog, but only one member of the staff.

Chapter 11 of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) basically lets companies sue the government of another country (within NAFTA’s boundaries, of course, which are, if you didn’t know, Canada, Mexico, and the US) if they feel that the country in question is hindering their ability to make a profit.

Say, for instance, (this is only for example purposes) that there is a company called MegaStorm from Canada that sells an additive to the salt that we use to melt snow and ice. The state of Oregon readily purchases MegaStorm’s additive. However, it was recently found to cause cancer in animals, and the long-term of this additive on humans is unknown. Since the salt melts the snow, it is getting into the water, and therefore, the additive is in the water. Oregon doesn’t want to have to put up with this, because it wants to keep its citizens healthy and happy. When they try to ban it, however, MegaStorm gets upset and is allowed to sue the United States. It can say, “Either you don’t ban our salt additive or you pay us a billion dollars in lost profits.” (And I’m not exaggerating with the billion number — that really is what some companies demand.) Now, MegaStorm isn’t going to come and say, “Oh yeah. It does show some cancer rates. Huh. You can ban it. We care about people.” No. They want money, and Chapter 11 gives them the right to sue the government. Either the government pays them a lot of money, or MegaStorm’s salt additive isn’t banned after all.

This isn’t good because that means a company can sue another country’s government for doing anything that effects their profits, even if they’re super rich already and the thing they do actually helps people, animals, and the environment. And the thing is, companies don’t do this in the most dire situations. No, they do it all the time. States and laws are now become more lenient than other because if they do try to protect the people and the animals and the environment, they’ll have to pay a huge sum of money.

And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that the people have no say in the matter. The trials between the companies and the government? The people aren’t allowed in. The protests? The people aren’t listened to. Was Chapter 11 really ever explained before they were trying to pass NAFTA? Does Chapter 11 benefit anyone excepting the rich companies who only get richer? The people never knew, even though it is shown that the people who wrote Chapter 11 knew the entire time what exactly they were doing.

Nothing good will come to us for having Chapter 11 — so what if a company can’t sell anything in a certain state? Instead of enforcing Chapter 11, maybe they should find a way to make it more healthy for the people and the animals and the environment. Maybe they should make their product better, and therefore sell things more.

I’m making this post so you can be aware of what is going on. We need to stop Chapter 11, we need to protest it, we need to have our voices be heard. We need to protect the world we were given because, hey, it’s the only one we’ve got.

-Mary, Author at Bonsai


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