Pro-trade Dems want green goals in TPP

Pro-trade Dems want green goals in TPP

A group of pro-trade House Democrats penned a letter on Wednesday calling on the Obama administration to lock in strong environmental provisions as part of a massive Asia-Pacific trade deal.

Reps. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerOvernight Defense: Latest on scrapped Korea summit | North Korea still open to talks | Pentagon says no change in military posture | House passes 6B defense bill | Senate version advances House easily passes 7B defense authorization bill Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting MORE (Ore.), Suzan DelBeneSuzan Kay DelBeneTrade experts, lawmakers say NAFTA deal within reach The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Big night for women in primary elections Lawmakers seek answers from IRS following Tax Day systems glitch MORE (Wash.), Scott Peters (Calif.) and 16 other Democrats who supported President Obama’s trade agenda argue that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) presents a unique chance to raise global environmental standards.

“The TPP presents an opportunity to strengthen environmental protections to a degree that no amount of foreign aid could ever bring,” said Blumenauer, who helped spearhead the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanUS trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report Overnight Finance: Trump hits China on currency manipulation, countering Treasury | Trump taps two for Fed board | Tax deadline revives fight over GOP overhaul | Justices set to hear online sales tax case Froman joins Mastercard to oversee global business expansion MORE.

“Environmental miscreants are not going to unilaterally disarm,” he said.

“A negotiated approach, using the economic incentives in a trade agreement, is the best way to turn bad actors into violators of enforceable commitments aimed at protecting our natural resources and stopping egregious practices like whaling, shark finning, illegal logging and wildlife trafficking.”

A flurry of letters to Froman from Capitol Hill come as officials and leaders from 11 other Pacific Rim nations meet in Hawaii this week in an effort to close talks on the TPP.

“Strong, enforceable environmental protections will not only help protect our planet for future generations, it will also level the playing field for small-and-medium-sized U.S. businesses by raising environmental standards,” DelBene said.

On Tuesday, a group of 18 House Democrats who supported fast-track legislation — led by Blumenauer and Rep. Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindLobbying world Overnight Energy: Pruitt taps man behind 'lock her up' chant for EPA office | Watchdog to review EPA email policies | Three Republicans join climate caucus Three Republicans join climate change caucus MORE (Wis.) — said their support for the TPP depends on whether the Obama administration can ensure the enforcement of global trade rules.

“We understand the process of enforcing treaty obligations is complex, expensive and time consuming, which makes it essential that we send a clear signal to our trading partners about enforcement now,” they wrote.

They specifically urged Froman to look into whether Peru, a member of the TPP, is violating trade rules by engaging in illegal logging practices.