Credo Action

Tell the House: Stop Fast Track for toxics

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Petition to members of the U.S. House of Representatives:

"Commit to voting no on Fast Track for environmentally dangerous trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)."

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    Tell the House: Stop Fast Track for toxics

    A new trade treaty being negotiated by the Obama administration could cause cancer. Yes, you read that right.

    The European Union (EU) was in the process of banning 31 pesticides that had been linked to both cancer and infertility. But now threats from the United States have reportedly stopped EU officials from taking this common sense action to protect public health. Why? To avoid undermining a massive trade treaty called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).1

    As soon as next week the House of Representatives will vote on whether or not to Fast Track several major trade agreements including TTIP and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – all but guaranteeing that the agreements are finalized. If these treaties become law, foreign corporations could have the final say over public health and safety regulations.

    Tell the House of Representatives: Publicly oppose and vote against Fast Track for environmentally toxic trade agreements.

    The White House wants us to believe nothing in the TPP or TTIP will endanger the health or safety of Americans. Yet they insist on keeping the content of the TPP a secret.

    Even members of Congress can only read the TPP draft agreement if they enter a secure room in the United States Capitol without their cell phone. They are not allowed to take away any notes, photos or copies. And once they leave the secure room they are not permitted to share what they have seen with anyone who does not have “top secret clearance.”2 Not their constituents – not even their own staff.

    The little we do know about the TPP is due to drafts of some of its chapters that have been leaked out in the public. Experts who have examined the provisions say it is even worse than they imagined.

    The text contains a provision known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which allows corporations to sue governments if they pass laws that interfere with their ability to make profit. The suits take place before an international tribunal staffed by corporate trade lawyers, some of who will end up working for the very companies whose cases they are judging.

    This could put a halt to some of our most basic environmental protections.

    ISDS is one of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s principal objections to both the TPP and Fast Track. She explained recently that the impact of ISDS is not a “hypothetical problem.”3 The examples Senator Warren provided include Philip Morris using ISDS "to try to stop countries like Australia and Uruguay from implementing new rules that are intended to cut smoking rates – because the new laws might eat into the tobacco giant’s profits," and Swedish company suing Germany because "Germany wanted to phase out nuclear power for safety reasons."4

    Already the EU has stopped its effort to regulate cancer-causing pesticides because of trade agreements such as TTIP. Imagine the impact on our country when Vietnamese and Malaysian companies sue to halt our environmental laws based on ISDS provisions in the TPP.

    To stop the TPP and TTIP, we need to stop Fast Track.

    Tell the House of Representatives: Publicly oppose and vote against Fast Track for environmentally toxic trade agreements.

    Thank you for speaking out. Your activism matters.

    1. Glyn Moody, "EU dropped plans for safer pesticides after pressure from US," Ars Technica, May 26, 2015.

    2. Representative Marcy Kaptur's Facebook post, May 13, 2015.

    3. Senator Elizabeth Warren, "I agree with Hillary Clinton,", May 7, 2015.

    4. Ibid.