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As you read the following article, notice that the corporate 'bottom line' and stockholders' equity takes precedence to the health of the people.

The article mentions opposition to the lawsuit by environmentalist groups. Keep in mind the environmentalist movement and its myriad organizations are created and funded by the same creatures who created the NAFTA. It's called controlled opposition, to ensure no real or effective opposition takes place.

Remember, too, that the NAFTA is an unconstitutional agreement entered into by controlled U.S. Congress critters. Who controls the critters? According to Israeli Knesset member, Uri Avenim, as published in the Israeli daily Haaretz:

"Israel is not the 51st state of the United States of America, as some would like to think; rather, the U.S. Congress is one of the ccupied areas of Israel."

Although it's referred to as a 'treaty', the NAFTA was passed by a simple majority of both houses of Congress. A treaty is ratified only by a super-majority of the Senate, and even if it were a treaty, as U.S. Senator Arlen Spector noted in a letter to a constituent, in 1994, "... as in the case of any treaty, any provision that conflicts with our Constitution would be void in our country." (We're quite sure Spector didn't expect the letter to find its way into the hands of networkers or the true statement would most probably not have been made.)

States could be opting out of the NAFTA on the grounds it violates the Constitutional protections as guaranteed in the 9th and 10th Articles of Amendment (Bill of Rights). So? What are we waiting for? More begging on our knees to the bought-and-paid-for U.S. Congress critters?

New NAFTA Lawsuit Against the U.S.


For Immediate Release: For More Information, Contact:
Wednesday, June 16 Katie Burnham (202) 546-4611
Patrick Woodall (202) 546-4996

$1 Billion NAFTA Lawsuit Threatens California Environmental Safeguard State's Fuel Additive Ban, Designed to Protect Water Supply, Attacked as  "Expropriation of Profits"

WASHINGTON -- A Canadian corporation's use of NAFTA to challenge a key California environmental law demonstrates the danger to public health safeguards posed by the agreement's sweeping "investor rights" provisions.  California recently imposed a ban on the gas additive MTBE, effective in 2002, because MTBE is leaking into the water table and poses health risks to humans.   Canada-based Methanex sued the United States for $1 billion yesterday, claiming that California's ban unfairly restricts the company's ability to sell methanol (the key ingredient in MTBE) and profit from it in the state -- and therefore constitutes a violation of NAFTA.

"This is what `free trade" is all about -- corporations overruling the decisions made by citizens at the ballot box and the legislative process," said Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "Methanex is using NAFTA to override the Governor, State Senate, and people of California."

NAFTA's investor rights provisions, so-called Chapter 11, allow any corporation in a NAFTA country to sue the federal government of either of the other countries whenever the corporation believes that a federal, state or local law or policy violates vaguely-defined investor rights.
The Methanex case is remarkably similar to the 1998 case leveled against Canada by U.S.-based Ethyl Corp.  A Canadian public health ban on the fuel additive MMT was challenged by Ethyl because it "expropriated" future profits and damaged Ethyl's "good reputation."  Rather than pay the $251 million in damages demanded by Ethyl Corp., Canada overturned its ban and paid Ethyl $13 million.

"Its the Ethyl case all over again," said Citizen's Trade Campaign Executive Director Scott Nova.  "A single corporation is using NAFTA to blackmail an entire country into environmental submission."

Part of Methanex's claim of damages is for its declining stock prices, ostensibly a result of California's ban.   In fact, the dip may well merely reflect the changes in the underlying price of methanol on the commodities market.  The methanol spot price fell from over 60› in 1997 to about 20› in 1999.  Moreover, Methanex sales to North America remain strong and were higher in 1998 than for any of the previous five years except 1997 which was only slightly higher.

"The effort to make US taxpayers foot the bill for Methanex's bad luck and bad business strategy is perverse," stated Nova.  "How many Americans knew when NAFTA was enacted that we were inviting corporations to engage in this sort of abuse?  It is duplicitous for Methanex to blame California for falling stock values when the company's profits dropped $270 million between 1997 and 1998 -- before the law was passed and years before the law will go into effect."

"This is just another case of transnational corporations trying to bully democracies into weakening
their environmental safeguards," added Wallach.  "This is an unconscionable corporate-Canadian shakedown of California's clean water standards."


June 16, 1999


(OTTAWA) Vancouver-based Methanex Corp.'s proposed $970-million (U.S.) lawsuit against the United States joins a growing list of NAFTA lawsuits designed to overturn health and environmental laws in favour of corporations, says The Council of Canadians and Sierra Club of Canada.
Methanex Corp. is suing the U.S. government after California announced it is phasing out MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), a gasoline additive Methanex manufactures, due to fears leaking storage facilities could contaminate  groundwater.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared MTBE to be a known animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen. Both the company and the industry generally have been plagued recently with falling sales. Methanex has followed the lead of Ethyl Corp., manufacturer of the gasoline additive MMT, which last year became the first company to successfully pressure the Canadian government to reverse an earlier ban on MMT when it launched a Chapter 11 lawsuit against Canada.

"As long as Chapter 11 of NAFTA allows companies to directly sue governments over laws they feel jeopardize their profits, the numbers of these cases and the severity of their impact will only increase," said Peter Bleyer, Executive Director of The Council of Canadians.

"NAFTA is a tool in the hands of corporations desperate to protect their bottom line, no matter what the cost to human health or the environment," added Angela Rickman of the Sierra Club of Canada.

"Chapter 11 very clearly favours trade law over every other form of domestic law," said Jo Dufay, Campaign Co-ordinator with the Council. "Under NAFTA, you simply can't have a meaningful environmental law, or one that directly protects public health and safety, if they in any way conflict with corporate profits."

The Council called on Trade Minister Sergio Marchi to negotiate changes to NAFTA, Chapter 11, as he has hinted he wishes to do. "Surely, even the U.S. government will now see that NAFTA gives outrageous powers to corporations, and jeopardizes human health and the environment," said Bleyer.



Wednesday, June 16

Methanex to sue U.S. under free-trade deal.  Damages sought over California ban on gas additive

Heather Scoffield and Steven Chase
The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Ottawa and Calgary --
     Methanex Corp. says it plans to use the North American free-trade agreement to sue the U.S. government, seeking $970-million (U.S.) in damages because of a California ban on a methanol-based gas additive.  
     Vancouver-based Methanex, the world leader in methanol production, notified the U.S. government yesterday that it intends to use NAFTA to seek compensation for the March 25 decision to phase out MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) by the end of 2002. 
     It will be the second time that a Canadian company has used NAFTA to sue the U.S. 
administration, and will be a test of a country's ability to pass tradeproof environmental rules. 
     "The California governor's order to ban the use of MTBE in that state unfairly targets MTBE in what are really broader gasoline and water resource issues," Methanex president Pierre Choquette said. "Our mandate is to act in the best interests of our shareholders, and we are confident we have a valid claim for damages under the NAFTA."
     NAFTA's controversial investment chapter allows companies to sue foreign governments for compensation if they pass measures that amount to expropriation. Because methanol is one of two key ingredients in MTBE and California MTBE is a huge market for Methanex, the company argues that the ban amounts to a massive expropriation of Methanex's market capitalization and potential profits.

      The company's stock lost $150-million in the 10 days after the California announcement, Methanex spokesman Michael Macdonald said, and share prices were volatile for months leading up to the announcement.

     MTBE was introduced in fuel in the mid-1990s to help it burn more completely and reduce air pollution, but environmental critics in California feared that leaking storage tanks could contaminate groundwater.
     Today, MTBE is the second-largest end use of methanol, consuming an estimated 30 per cent of global demand, according to Methanex, which controls about a quarter of the world's methanol market. 
     The phase-out in California threatens methanol producers because if it is copied by  other jurisdictions, it could cut what until now was a growing new market for the commodity, analysts say. 
     "MTBE has been by far the fastest-growing use for methanol. Its usage has risen from nearly nothing 20 years ago to close to one-third of the world's methanol use," said David Silver, analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston in New York.  
      Methanex felt this was an "appropriate" time to react to California's ban because Maine is considering a similar motion, and legislation is also in the works at the U.S. federal level, Mr. Macdonald said.  
      Methanex argues that there are better ways to solve the problem of MTBE in water than to ban the use of the additive.

     "We believe there is a focus on MTBE when there is a whole broader issue of gasoline in the water and in the environment," Mr. Macdonald said. "We believe there are alternatives, better alternatives."  
     The company says studies used by the California governor to support his order were  fundamentally flawed, and that MTBE is "safe when handled properly."

     Under the NAFTA process, Methanex must wait 60 days before it can actually file its suit.  That period is intended for the company to hold consultations with U.S. trade officials.  If no solution is reached, Methanex can request arbitration.
     Ottawa has been hit four times by such NAFTA claims; three of them are still in the works. A fourth case, in which Ethyl Corp. fought Ottawa's de facto ban on the gasoline additive MMT, was dropped after the federal government agreed to pay the Virginia-based company $20-million (Canadian) and withdraw the ban.

     The settlement raised fears among environmentalists that NAFTA can be used by companies to fight environmental laws they don't like.  Environmentalists in both Canada and the United States will be watching the Methanex case closely, said Toronto trade lawyer Barry Appleton, who represented Ethyl Corp. in the MMT case.

     "This is the case everyone will look to, to see what NAFTA means," he said. "This will be the catalyst for either a significant number of new NAFTA cases, or significant changes to NAFTA."
     The Canadian government is already seeking clarification of NAFTA's investment chapter,  hoping to narrow the definition of expropriation to avoid such compensation suits. Mexico has resisted Canada's moves; the United States has remained neutral.   
     The case also is also an important one for the future of Methanex, analysts said. If the California phase-out is copied by other U.S. states or other countries, methanol prices will continue to slide.
     Worldwide supply exceeds demand by about 11 per cent. Consequently, methanol makers  face spot prices for the commodity that are trading near 15-year lows.
     Methanex wasn't spared from the effects of the supply glut. It lost $68.4-million (U.S.) in 1998, compared with a 1997 profit of more than $201-million. Analysts expect continued losses this year and next. 
     The loss of methanol sales to California alone for MTBE use wouldn't cripple Methanex.  Sales to that state for MTBE use make up 5 per cent of the company's total revenue, which was $721-million last year.
     To cope with the glut of methanol worldwide, Methanex has closed two plants, including one in Medicine Hat, Alta., and a joint venture in Fortier, La. Analysts say the future of the company's northern B.C. plant, which provides 130 jobs in the coastal town of Kitimat, is in question.
Report on Business Company Snapshot is available for:  METHANEX CORPORATION

Copyright c 1999 The Globe and Mail


PR Newswire
June 15, 1999, Tuesday

HEADLINE: Methanex Seeks Damages Under NAFTA for California MTBE Ban

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 15 -- Methanex Corporation today notified the Government of the United States of its intention to seek damages under the NAFTA relating to California's decision to ban MTBE.

This is only the second time in the NAFTA's five year history that a claim of this kind has been filed against the United States.

Pierre Choquette, Methanex's President and CEO commented, "The California Governor's Order to ban the use of MTBE in that state unfairly targets MTBE in what are really broader gasoline and water resource issues. Our mandate is to act in the best interests of our shareholders and we are confident we have a valid claim for damages under the NAFTA. Our claim is related to expropriation. The NAFTA requires that an expropriating party meet certain obligations including fair and equitable treatment and the payment of compensation, which California did not meet."

Under the NAFTA, a business in a NAFTA-member country is entitled to enjoy certain conditions relating to its investments in another NAFTA-member country. Methanex's investments in the United States include Methanex Methanol Company based in Dallas, Texas and a production plant in Fortier, Louisiana. The NAFTA dispute process provides an initial period for discussion that can be followed by an arbitration.

MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) is a gasoline component manufactured from methanol and isobutylene by oil refiners and chemical manufacturers. Since the 1970s, MTBE has been used as an affordable and effective source of octane, first as lead was phased-out of gasoline and subsequently as gasoline aromatics levels, including benzene, have been reduced. Since the mid-1990s, clean air legislation has required the use of oxygenates in gasoline (reformulated gasoline) to reduce tailpipe emissions. MTBE is the refiners' oxygenate of choice.
Reformulated gasoline, including MTBE, has been key to achieving healthier, cleaner air for an estimated 75 million Americans in the nation's worst-polluted regions. MTBE also makes the fuel safer by diluting harmful gasoline components like benzene, a known human carcinogen. The controversy surrounding MTBE relates to its detection in water resources, which results from gasoline releases to the environment and MTBE's solubility in water.

Methanex manufactures and markets methanol and is a major supplier to MTBE  producers in the United States and elsewhere. Globally, MTBE represents approximately 30% of methanol demand, while California's MTBE demand, which is about a third of the United States MTBE demand, alone represents approximately 6% of global methanol demand. Methanol is Methanex's only product.

With regard to MTBE, Mr. Choquette commented, "Californian and US Federal regulatory authorities have estimated that reformulated gasoline, including MTBE, has had an effect equivalent to removing millions of cars from California's and the nation's roads."

Mr. Choquette continued, "Our view is that we are all entitled to a clean environment -- air, water and soil -- and that we should not have to choose between these elements. We have consistently challenged the apparent pre-occupation with banning MTBE. We promote alternative measures such as improved gasoline infrastructure management (especially underground storage tanks), more stringent boat engine emission standards and managed recreational use of lakes and reservoirs.
These preventative measures would address the root cause of the issue by substantially reducing gasoline release to the environment. We also support flexibility for the refiners which, with continued MTBE availability, would provide choice for consumers."

Mr. Choquette concluded, "We have also today submitted our proposal to address the MTBE controversy, in the form of a five-point plan, to the EPA and to the EPA's Blue Ribbon Panel currently considering Oxygenates in Gasoline."

Methanex's Five-Point Plan on gasoline, MTBE and the environment includes:
    1. providing greater flexibility to refiners by the elimination of the 2%  oxygenate mandate included in the Federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) program

    2. measures to ensure that the better of current or future air quality standards and existing gains from vehicle emission reductions already achieved by the use of oxygenates are not lost -- i.e. no backsliding on air quality

    3. more effective enforcement and regulatory programs to prevent the release of gasoline to the environment

    4. more aggressive gasoline and MTBE remediation and treatment efforts and  increased funding to support remediation and treatment research and  development

    5. comprehensive consumer education programs on the proper handling and use of gasoline and the environmental benefits and risks of gasoline and MTBE

Methanex is a Vancouver based, publicly-traded company engaged in the worldwide production and marketing of methanol.  Methanex shares are listed for trading on the Toronto and Montreal stock exchanges in Canada under the trading symbol "MX" and on The Nasdaq Stock Market in the United States under the trading symbol "MEOH."   
Additional background information on Methanex, the NAFTA claim and MTBE is available on the company's website at www.methanex.com.   
 Information in this news release may contain forward-looking statements. By their nature, such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements.

SOURCE  Methanex Corporation
CONTACT: Michael Macdonald, Director, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications of Methanex  Corporation, 604-661-2600

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Mike Dolan, Field Director
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
ph  202.546.4996 x322
fx   202.547.7392

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