Sunday, December 19, 2010

Commerce Group Exports Pollution and Disease To El Salvador

photo: Stop the Suits!

Under provisions of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, corporations are permitted to sue host nations for losses incurred due to environmental laws enacted by the host nation.

So, for example, the Wisconsin based Commerce Group mining company has been dumping toxic chemicals from its gold mine operations in the drinking water of Santa Rosa de Lima for the past forty years. In response, El Salvador revoked the company's mining permit in 2006. Now, Commerce Group is suing El Salvador for $100 million dollars in capital costs, and lost profit.

That's really a great trade deal there, and some fine upstanding individuals at the helm of Commerce Group.

If you're even a little bugged by this, call or e-mail your representatives in Washington, and tell them to back us out of CAFTA, which is a bad trade agreement. It undermines US manufacturing, and permits lawsuits like Commerce Group's. El Salvador can't afford the legal fees, much less a $100 million dollar award against them, and El Salvador should not be punished for protecting the health of its citizens. Help put a stop to this travesty.

Read more here: Press Release - Organizations Call on Commerce Group to Drop Lawsuit
and here: New campaign against Commerce Group gold mine, La Union El Salvador
Then act: Maybe an e-mail to President Obama would be a good start.

Here's a quote from the above linked press release:
Chapter 11 of DR-CAFTA, under which Commerce Group has filed its suit, remains one of the most controversial aspects of U.S. trade policy. The equivalent chapter in NAFTA, Chapter 10, has come under fire in recent years, including from President Obama. During his presidential campaign, Obama promised to “strictly limit” foreign investor protections in a renegotiation of NAFTA and to fully exempt any regulation protecting public safety.
Find the Pres, and your Reps at And contact them.

What I don't get is how the people at Commerce Group go home each night and face people they love, and who love them, and say they had a good day at work. How can people who work for a company like Commerce Group face anyone?

Here's the soul-less fiends arguing their case:
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Here's more from the same ICSID hearing: Commerce Group Corp. and San Sebastian Gold Mines, Inc. v. Republic of El Salvador (ICSID Case No. ARB/09/17)

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