TOKYO–(ENEWSPF)–March 15, 2013. Today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Japan’s intention to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. This brings the number of negotiating nations to 12: The United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.
In response, Sierra Club Trade Representative Ilana Solomon issued the following statement:
“The Sierra Club is deeply concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership – which is being called “NAFTA on Steroids” – would threaten the health of our families and the future of our environment, and the inclusion of Japan in this pact amplifies our concerns tenfold.
“We understand the trade pact would allow for automatic exports of natural gas to countries in the bloc, overriding the Department of Energy’s ability to thoroughly review environmental and economic impacts of the exports. Japan — the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas – is seeking to import the dirty fuel from the United States. Exporting natural gas would raise domestic energy prices, harm the middle class and U.S. manufacturing, and significantly increase the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That means we’ll be paying the price here, with more fracking in our backyards, near our schools, and next to our hospitals – only to help a handful of big gas companies profit by shipping natural gas overseas.
“Fracking jeopardizes ecologically sensitive areas, contaminates the water our families drink, and pumps climate-disrupting pollution into our air. Ultimately, exporting natural gas will only prolong America’s reliance on dirty fuels and deepen our climate crisis. The risk to our families and to public health is too important to overlook. The trade pact must be crafted in a way which allows the United States to responsibly manage its natural gas.
“What’s equally troubling is that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is being negotiated in almost complete secrecy. We must bring these negotiations into the open. If we can bring transparency to trade negotiations, we can help protect the environment, workers, and the health of our families and communities.”
For more information, please see these Sierra Club fact sheets (PDFs):