California firm to use NAFTA to seek $220M in damages

A California company is suing the Canadian federal government for US $220M in lost business on the grounds that British Columbia's ban on bulk exports of fresh water violates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).


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Sun Belt started to export water from British Columbia to California in supertankers in 1990. But in 1991, the provincial government imposed a temporary moratorium on the type of permit granted to the companies, prompting both companies to file lawsuits for the loss of potential business. Sun Belt’s use of NAFTA exposes a lack of legislation dealing with the bulk export of water and is one of a growing number of US lawsuits challenging Canadian environmental regulations The Canadian government wants to prevent exports so that companies don’t exploit Canada’s abundant fresh water reserves and disrupt ecosystems.

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