Mainers rally against climate damage from TPP

Mainers rally against climate damage from TPP

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement was signed on Thursday on New Zealand, members of the Maine Fair Trade Campaign, 350Maine and Food and Water Watch held a demonstration in Monument Square in Portland to protest the far-reaching pact and its likely detrimental effect on addressing global climate change.

“The TPP locks us into a future where the business as usual model of digging for and burning of fossil fuels will not only continue but will be required to be expedited,” said Sarah Lachance of 350Maine. “The TPP requires the U.S. Department of Energy to automatically approve all exports of LNG (liquified natural gas). Here in Maine, as we see the health of our economically and environmentally important Gulf of Maine deteriorating from climate change, we know such a mandate is nothing but a giant present to the oil and gas industry.”

Protestors also objected to the secret nature of the negotiations that produced the TPP (Lachance wore a blindfold during her speech to illustrate this point) and the potential effect on Maine’s economy and employment prospects.

“The flood of cheap, risky seafood imperils the livelihoods of Maine’s lobstermen as well as Gulf Coast shrimpers, and crabbers on the Chesapeake Bay. At a time when so many of us are trying to eat more sustainably and more locally, why would we invite easier imports of potentially unsafe seafood that will drive our local watermen our of business?” asked Nisha Swinton of Food and Water Watch.

Participants at the event, part of a national day of action, urged Mainers to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to vote against ratification of the agreement.

“In America, and especially here in Maine, we don’t take too well to having our sovereignty eroded,” said Lachance.

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