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Letter: Trans-Pacific pact could erode laws

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations, would be a disaster worse than NAFTA ["Resisting fast-track trade," Business, Jan. 24].

The proposed pact would allow corporations to sue over government policies they construe as illegal trade barriers and that they deem detrimental to expected future profits. Foreign companies could seek to override U.S. environmental and other laws.

For example, to increase exports of liquefied natural gas from shale gas extraction known as fracking, the Trans-Pacific agreement could allow challenges to current restrictions and lead to the siting of gas terminals, such as the Port Ambrose project proposed for 13 miles off the Rockaway Peninsula. The siting of such a facility could encourage fracking, reduce property values and produce heavy truck traffic, water shortages, associated methane leaks and toxic waste emissions. Fracking would harm our state's water and public health.

In short, the Trans-Pacific pact would violate the spirit of our Constitution and our democracy.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is undecided on President Barack Obama's request for fast-track approval of future free-trade agreements, like this one. Fast-track approval would force Congress to vote on trade agreements with no amendments and limited debate.

Julie Sullivan, Huntington

Editor's note: The writer is a member of Food and Water Watch, an environmental advocacy organization.