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Fast Track Alert

please contact both of your senators today and ask them to oppose fast
track. if they already favor fast track, encourage them to vote for the
kerry amendment on investment. your senators can be reached through the
afl-cio's toll-free number: 877-611-0063.
To: All trade and environmental activists
From: Jason Tockman, American Lands Alliance
Date: May 20, 2002

CRITICAL FAST TRACK AMENDMENT VOTE TUESDAY
-- Calls needed to Senators to support Kerry's Investment Amendment
-- Pressure also needed on House members to oppose Fast Track

** AFL-CIO's toll-free number: 877-611-0063 **
** AFL-CIO's toll-free number: 877-611-0063 **
** AFL-CIO's toll-free number: 877-611-0063 **

The US Senate is expected to vote this Tuesday on a key amendment to
"Fast Track," the trade promotion bill that would encourage the Bush
Administration to negotiate new trade deals under the NAFTA model. Fast
Track would enhance the administration's efforts to extend the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the whole hemisphere and
broaden the reach of the World Trade Organization, putting at risk labor
standards and environmental protections, including those intended to preserve
ancient forests. A vote on the full Fast Track package is likely Wednesday.

Immediate action is needed to derail the corporate globalization agenda
through pressure on the US Senate. At this time, please join us by
pressuring your Senators to vote NO on Fast Track. Bear in mind,
however, that the Senate is packed with Free Traders, and will likely pass Fast
Track legislation. The strategy for those offices already supportive of Fast
Track is to ask that they at least support Senator Kerry's amendment on
investment, which would effectively block many of the worst trade
provisions that allow foreign corporations to sue over environmental and other
regulatory safeguards, as laid out in NAFTA's Investment Chapter.

Chapter 11, one of NAFTA's most controversial components, authorizes
foreign corporations to sue governments where they feel their ability to make a
profit has been "expropriated." The NAFTA provisions award new rights
to foreign firms, well in excess of those granted to US citizens and
companies under domestic law. Some of the best known cases are Mexico's payment
of $16 million to a US firm for refusing a permit for a toxic landfill, and
Canada's payment of $13 million and revocation of a prohibition on a poisonous
gasoline additive upon challenge by a US company. Currently, several
companies are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from the US for
measures it has taken to decrease the importation of Canadian softwood,
cut largely from the ancient forests of British Columbia. The draft text of
the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)—NAFTA for the whole hemisphere
except Cuba—includes language similar to NAFTA's Chapter 11. Fast Track is
thus a mechanism to enable companies from an additional 31 countries to seek
to impede our domestic environmental laws, and allow US corporations the
same right in other countries.

============
TAKE ACTION--

PLEASE CONTACT BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS TODAY AND ASK THEM TO OPPOSE FAST
TRACK. IF THEY ALREADY FAVOR FAST TRACK, ENCOURAGE THEM TO VOTE FOR THE
KERRY AMENDMENT ON INVESTMENT. Your Senators can be reached through the
AFL-CIO's toll-free number: 877-611-0063.

Once approved by the Senate, the bill will go into Conference Committee
to reconcile House and Senate versions, giving the House (which passed
Fast Track last December by a vote of 215-214) a chance to revisit the
legislation. CALLS TO YOUR HOUSE MEMBER EXPRESSING OPPOSITION ARE ALSO
VERY TIMELY. Your House member can be reached at 877-611-0063. Please also
note that the end of this week begins Congress's Memorial Day Recess,
providing an excellent opportunity to schedule in-district meetings.

For more information on Fast Track, including where your Senator
stands, contact Jason Tockman at 740-594-5441 or  tockman@americanlands.org.