The Obama administration is pushing for a sweeping trade deal with countries in Asia – and abandoning critical environment protections in order to make sure it happens. According to documents released by Wikileaks, environmental clauses in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are significantly weaker than previous trade agreements.
Instead of upholding existing environmental treaties, the deal would make pollution penalties and wildlife protections against shark finning and illegal logging optional and unenforceable. Environment groups analyzing the documents have found that the TPP would significantly expand fracking operations and lead to the approval of natural gas exports to any of the partnership countries without review.
In the past, free trade agreements have at least included a list of environmental treaties that countries committed to uphold, and countries actually had the power to enforce those regulations.
The nations negotiating in the TPP account for nearly a quarter of the global trade in fish and wood products. The TPP should include rules that prevent countries from devastating their fish populations or illegally cutting down entire forests -- not to mention bans on hunting endangered wildlife.