Indian communities file lawsuit in US court against Intl. Finance Corp. over harm from coal-fired plant

 

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Article
14 August 2016

Indian fishermen & farmers appeal US District Court decision in case against Intl. Finance Corp. over environmental damage

Author: Valentina Stackl, EarthRights International

"Indian Communities ask U.S. Court of Appeals to hold World Bank Group Accountable", 10 Aug 2016

[F]ishing communities and farmers asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to hold the International Finance Corporation (IFC) accountable for its role in funding a destructive coal fire powered plant in India. The communities filed suit against the IFC last year over the loss of their livelihoods and property and threats to their health caused by the IFC-funded Tata Mundra coal-fired power plant in Gujarat, India....In March, a federal district court judge dismissed the case after ruling that the IFC, the private lending arm of the World Bank, was entitled to “absolute immunity” from suit and could not be sued...In their appeal..., the Plaintiffs argue that recent Supreme Court cases addressing immunity overturned the D.C. Circuit’s decisions and made clear that the IFC was not entitled to the immunity is claimed.

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Article
11 August 2016

Appeal by fisherman in Indian coal-fired plant lawsuit argues that Intl. Finance Corp. is not entitled to absolute immunity

Author: Richard L. Herz, Marco Simmons & Michelle Harrison, Earthrights International

"Opening Brief of Plaintiffs-Appellants", 9 Aug 2016

...The IOIA entitles the IFC only to “the same immunity from suit...as is enjoyed by foreign governments...Foreign governments, of course, enjoy only restrictive immunity pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA). But Atkinson held that 1) at the time of the IOIA’s enactment in 1945, foreign sovereign immunity was automatically absolute, and 2) the phrase “as is enjoyed” permanently enshrined immunity as of 1945...Those conclusions conflict with the Supreme Court’s subsequent decisions, and removing either one is enough to undermine Atkinson’s ultimate holding of absolute immunity...Plaintiffs sued the IFC because an IFC - financed project, the Tata Mundra Ultra Mega coal-fired power plant (“the Plant” or “the Project”), has destroyed their meagre livelihoods and threatens their health...

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Article
11 November 2015

Indian fishermen & farmers sue Intl. Finance Corp. in US over environmental damage from power plant

Author: Matt Kennard & Claire Provost, Guardian (UK)

“Fishermen and farmers sue World Bank lending arm over power plant in India”, 10 Nov 2015

In the first case of its kind against the private investment arm of the World Bank, fishermen and farmers from north-western India are suing the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in a US federal court over a $450m loan for a coal-fired power plant.  The communities say the IFC has “destroyed their livelihoods” by reducing fish stocks and damaging the environment…[T]he IFC says the complaint…“must be dismissed in its entirety” because the IFC is entitled to immunity…“What are they afraid of?” asks Kristen Genovese, from [SOMO]…“you can sue your government, you can sue corporations. Why can’t you sue the Bank? Why is it above the law? You need to have checks and balances.”  At the moment…“the entire World Bank group essentially plays by its own rules”…In 2008, [the IFC] announced a $450m loan for the…“ultra mega power plant”…The project was billed as critical to providing cheap and reliable power for India’s industrialisation…[L]ocal communities say it has done more harm than good…The current case is important…not just for the plaintiffs to “get redress for their own suffering but also to ensure that other communities around the world don’t endure what they’ve endured”…

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Article
5 May 2015

Gujarat fishermen sue IFC in US Court for funding Tata Power’s Mundra UMPP

Author: Premal Balan, TNN

Fishing communities and farmers from Mundra in Kutch district…filed suit against the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-lending arm of the World Bank Group, in federal court in Washington, DC, through their representative EarthRights International (ERI). The IFC provided a $450 million loan to the Tata Mundra UMPP. As per IFC's rules demand that its borrowers take precautions to protect vulnerable communities' and the environment. IFC is under obligation to supervise, monitor and enforcing these rules. The fishermen have alleged that the IFC caused the loss of their livelihoods, destroyed their lands and water, and created threats to their health by funding the Tata Power's coal-fired ultra-mega power plant in Mundra, Kutch.

Article
23 April 2015

Communities Sue World Bank Group In U.S. Federal Court for Destructive Coal-Fired Power Plant

Author: EarthRights International

Today fishing communities and farmers from India represented by EarthRights International (ERI) filed suit against the International Finance Corporation (IFC)…in federal court in Washington, D.C. The plaintiffs allege that the IFC caused the loss of their livelihoods, destroyed their lands and water, and created threats to their health by funding the Tata Mundra coal-fired power plant in Gujarat, India. The…power plant, owned by Tata Power, began operating at full capacity in 2013…The thermal pollution discharged from the plant’s cooling system has led to a dramatic decline in the fish populations that local fishing communities depend on…The substantial coal dust and fly ash coming from the plant and its coal conveyor belt is also harming local farms, the quality of fish and salt from the region, and the health of local people.

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Article
23 April 2015

Jam, et al. v. International Finance Corporation - Class Action Complaint For Damages and Equitable Relief

[Full text of complaint filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia.]

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Article
23 April 2015

Lawsuit Accuses World Bank Arm Of 'Mission Failure'

Author: Michael Hudson & Barry Yeoman, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The World Bank Group caused serious harm to fishers, farmers and villagers in northwest India by bankrolling a giant coal-fired power plant on an ecologically fragile stretch of coastline, a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. federal court in Washington argues. The suit accuses the World Bank Group’s private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), of “irresponsible and negligent conduct” in handling its $450 million financing package for the coal plant. Lawyers for EarthRights International…filed the case on behalf of people living and working near the coal plant…The IFC would not comment directly on the lawsuit’s claims. An IFC spokesperson provided a statement saying that the Tata Mundra plant “provides reliable power to rural and urban-based domestic consumers…” The spokesperson said the IFC and the plant’s operators have been working to address local community concerns.

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