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The Obama administration is championing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a trade agreement between the USA and 11 other nations broadly connected by the Pacific Ocean. Unlike past trade agreements, the TPP includes an extensive section about the environment and the ocean. Despite the inclusion of ocean issues, Turtle Island Restoration Network is concerned that serious environmental threats may still result from passage of the TPP.

According the United States Government, the TPP supports ocean conservation in numerous ways, including:

  • Prohibiting harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing
  • Combating illegal fishing and promoting sustainable fisheries
  • Promoting long-term conservation of sea turtles and other marine species
  • Protecting the Marine Environment from Ship Pollution

However, many organizations have pointed out that the TPP may allow corporations to sue governments. This could conflict with laws governments have in place to protect the environment. Allowing corporations to wield control over the USA and other nations’ environmental laws is unacceptable. Corporations have an incentive to place profit above environmental conservation, but our environment, including the Pacific Ocean, belongs to everyone.

The inclusion of ocean issues in the TPP is a big step forward, but it may be two steps forward and one step back.