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Leading environmental groups urge Congress to oppose a pro-polluter NAFTA 2.0

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Sierra Club | 9 December 2019

Leading environmental groups urge Congress to oppose a pro-polluter NAFTA 2.0

Dear Representative,

On behalf of our organizations’ over 9 million members and supporters, we strongly urge you to oppose a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that fails to meet the baseline standards for environmental and climate protection that the environmental community has consistently called for.

Correcting NAFTA’s environmental failures and addressing climate change in modern trade agreements is a top priority for our organizations. For over 25 years, NAFTA has contributed to climate change, toxic pollution, economic insecurity, and social inequity. We will vigorously oppose any deal that would perpetuate NAFTA’s track record of helping corporations dump pollution, outsource jobs, push fossil fuel dependency, and undermine hard-fought environmental protections.

Before, during, and after the Trump administration’s renegotiation of NAFTA, we and other leading environmental organizations repeatedly named specific changes to curb NAFTA’s environmental damage. The administration ignored nearly all of our concerns. The deal that the Trump administration produced last year – the United States-Mexico- Canada Agreement (USMCA) – would encourage further outsourcing of pollution and jobs, offer handouts to notorious corporate polluters, and prolong Trump’s polluting legacy for years. The deal not only fails to mention, acknowledge, or address the climate crisis, but would actually contribute to it.

Since this summer, a team of Democratic members of Congress has worked to try to eliminate these and other fundamental problems by negotiating meaningful changes to the Trump administration’s deal. We have actively supported this effort with detailed recommendations to achieve the following essential environmental priorities:

● Binding climate standards, backed by 110 members of Congress, to curb outsourcing of climate pollution and jobs and to ensure the U.S. and its trading partners fulfill commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement
● Binding clean air, water, and land standards to halt the dumping of pollution in Mexico
● Obligations to fulfill commitments under an array of key multilateral environmental agreements
● A new, independent and binding enforcement system to stop environmental violations
● Removal of corporate polluter handouts that support tar sands oil and fracked gas
● Elimination of broad rights for corporate polluters to sue Mexico over environmental policies in tribunals
● Elimination of rules that would help corporate polluters weaken and delay our environmental regulations.

If these baseline environmental criteria are met, a new deal would truly help to curb NAFTA’s environmental damage. However, if a final deal fails to reflect these minimum environmental changes, it would perpetuate NAFTA’s legacy of exacerbating pollution and the climate crisis. The greatest environmental challenge of the 21st Century – climate change – cannot be ignored by modern trade agreements. We cannot afford to lock ourselves into another multi-decade trade deal that is on the wrong side of our historic fight to tackle climate change and toxic pollution.

To protect the health of people and our planet, we urge you to oppose any deal that fails to correct the fundamental environmental failures of the Trump administration’s USMCA.

Sincerely,

Michael Brune
Executive Director
Sierra Club

Gene Karpinski
President
League of Conservation Voters

Mitch Bernard
Interim President
Natural Resources Defense Council


 source: Sierra Club