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).

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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