So there’s this company called OceanaGold that seems to think that its entitled to $301 million dollars because they are not able to open a mine that would poison drinking water.
So here we have an increasingly common scenario under “investor-state dispute mechanisms” — environmental laws designed to safeguard human and animal health are challenged as barriers to corporate profit. Not simply to recover an investment that didn’t pan out, but supposed future profits that a company claims it would have earned. Should El Salvador prevail, it would still have lost because it will spend large sums of money to defend this case, money that could have been used for the welfare of its people.
This should make any country weary of entering into trade agreements or organizations like the WTO that can usurp state power to the detriment of its people. What’s sad is that while the people of a country remain weary of these trade deals, it is often their own government that sells them out—the U.S. included. It’s ridiculous that OceanaGold cares more about money than the lives of people. They must truly not value their lives.