Action Alert — October 17, 2007

How NOT to solve global warming: NAFTA for the Amazon!

Take action to save the Amazon! Democratic leadership has promised to bring Big Oil's dream trade deal – the Peru NAFTA expansion – up for a vote by the end of October. We've got to stop them.

Dear Supporter,

When Big Oil companies are going full steam on a stealth lobbying mission for more access to the Amazon, it doesn't take a geological engineering degree to realize that whatever they are pushing is probably bad for the environment.

So, it's more than a little disturbing that Democrats in Congress are scheduling a vote on one of Big Oil's top legislative priorities - an expansion of NAFTA to the South American country of Peru that would give them powerful new rights to ravage the endangered Amazon rainforest.

Indigenous leaders from the Peruvian Amazon are in Washington, DC right now urging the U.S. Congress to save their Amazon rainforest home and help stop global warming by defeating the Bush administration's proposed NAFTA expansion.[1] But they need our help!

Please urge your representatives in Congress to save the Amazon from Big Oil's Peru NAFTA scheme - and vote NO on HR 3688, the Peru "free trade" agreement (Peru FTA).

Take action here:

Bush's NAFTA expansion to Peru, which would extend NAFTA's most environment-ravaging provisions to cover the upper Amazon basin, is at the top of the agenda for multinational oil companies like Chevron-Texaco, a co-chair of the U.S.-Peru Trade Coalition.[2]

The Peru deal includes new rights for Big Oil that extend even beyond NAFTA's awful provisions. The proposed pact would empower multinational oil and gas to drag Peru's government to World Bank tribunals to demand compensation for changes to the corporations' exploration and exploitation contracts that could undermine their "expected future profits." What this means is that the Peru FTA would allow these firms to crush measures Peru's government might take to protect the Amazon rainforest.

Big Oil is well aware of this hidden provision in the Peru FTA. In fact, they call it a "significant improvement" over other trade deals in an official report for Bush's energy industry corporate advisory committee on trade.[3]

Locking in Oil Company Leases: When negotiations on the trade deal started back in 2004, only 13 percent of Peru's Amazon was zoned for oil and gas exploration and exploitation. The last two governments have now opened over 65 percent of the region, including national parks and other ostensibly protected areas. The FTA's new foreign investor protections would help lock in this outrage, even if a new pro-environment government were elected in Peru - granting Big Oil the world's most important rainforest as its private Monopoly board game.

Multinational oil companies involved in Peru include Occidental and ConocoPhillips, whose political action committees have been layering the campaign donations on to the same members of the U.S. Congress who will be voting on the deal.

Click the image for a larger version:

In a recent letter to the U.S. Congress, environmental groups that work on protecting the Amazon rainforest wrote:

Given the challenges that the world faces to stem global warming, we simply cannot afford to advance trade agreements that we are certain will result in the deforestation of critical tropical rainforests.

In short, Big Oil's Peru NAFTA push will help heat up the planet and reduce our energy independence.

The Peru FTA is slated for a vote before the end of October, so we need to move fast. Please act now to make sure your Representative and both of your Senators know where you stand!

Take action here:

And please, please send this email to all of your friends. If we want to make progress on climate change, we can't let the new Congress cave in to Big Oil by passing trade agreements that help lock in the very policies we know must be changed.

Thank you for all that you do,

David Edeli
Global Trade Watch Division
Public Citizen

[1] "Los pueblos indigenas no quieren el TLC," La Republica, October 11, 2007, Seccion Economia, p.14.
[2] See the Latin America Trade Coalition website.
[3] "The U.S. – Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA)," Report of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Energy and Energy Services (ITAC 6), January 2006. (PDF)

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