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The Network for Justice in Global Investment is a joint effort by citizens and organizations in a variety of countries to challenge one of the most anti-democratic aspects of the global economic order – the rules governing international investment. Read More.

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A brief introduction of the Doe Run / Renco vs Peru case.

  • Businessman Ira Rennert, CEO of the American company The Renco Group, Inc. (Renco), has a pattern of buying up factories that poison their neighbors, and then avoiding blame for the horrible health effects those factories cause.  Just last year, Renco’s subsidiary Doe Run Investment Holdings, Inc. was found liable for $358.5 million to the families that were injured by pollution from its lead smelting plant in Herculaneum, MO.
  • In 1997, Renco purchased another lead smelting plant in La Oroya, Peru through its subsidiary Doe Run Peru (DRP).  As a condition of the sale, DRP was required by the Peruvian government to complete an environmental remediation plan called a PAMA.  Instead of fulfilling this promise, DRP delayed remediation, requesting numerous extensions to the PAMA.
  • Today, the environment surrounding the La Oroya smelter is still toxic.  In 2006 the Blacksmith Institute named it one of the top ten most polluted sites in the world. 99% of the children have high levels of lead poisoning. 
  • Peru has tried to right the injustice that Renco has caused the people of La Oroya.  DRP was put into bankruptcy after the company repeatedly cited economic difficulties as the reason for breaking its PAMA promises.  Grassroots groups in Peru are fighting for an environmental cleanup to protect their families and environment.  Citizens of La Oroya are suing Renco in Missouri courts for the injuries the children suffered, but that lawsuit is stalled for now.
  • Following the bankruptcy and the Missouri lawsuits, Renco initiated an international arbitration against Peru before an international investor-state tribunal, claiming violations of the U.S.–Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This agreement, like other bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and FTAs, guarantees certain protections, or “rights,” to foreign investors. These protections are vaguely worded, and tribunals often interpret them expansively to protect the investors.
  • Renco is claiming that Peru violated its right to “fair and equitable treatment” because it had high standards for the quality of remediation, non-discriminatory treatment because the Peruvian company that used to own the smelter has not completed its PAMA, and compensation for indirect expropriation because the plant cannot operate in bankruptcy. The corporation wants $800 million in damages, and for Peru to assume liability for any damages from the Missouri lawsuit and cover the cost of any further litigation relating to the La Oroya claim.
  • Under pressure from the investor-state arbitration, the Peruvian Congress considered giving DRP yet another extension to their PAMA, which would have allowed DRP to restart the smelter and continue polluting La Oroya. However, on April 12th,  after many years of work, twists and turns, the Peruvian Government rejected Doe Run Peru’s/Renco’s restructuring plan that would include reopening the metallurgic plan. This is big news for local communities and national and international allies. However, this is not the end, still many challenges remain around the $800 million dollar suit filed by Doe Run Peru / Renco against the Peru government above described and analyzed in this issue.

For more information on this case and other investor – state cases

Please visit www.justinvestment.org.

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