Rep. Chellie Pingree raises a really important issue in her recent column (“Commentary: Trade agreements need meaningful congressional review,” Jan. 27).

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is now being negotiated, and the intended process for its approval by Congress, the “fast track” provision, have far-reaching and crucial implications for our environment, safety and democracy. We really need to pay attention to them.

If it follows the model of the already passed North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will allow corporations to sue governments (including ours) if they feel that legislation might reduce their profits.

This can mean big legal costs for taxpayers and, possibly, infringement on our rights to protect our air, water and food, workers’ safety, patents and copyrights, and energy.

For all these reasons, our representatives in Congress need to be able to review the agreement carefully, with adequate time for consultation, and to understand all its possible implications.

I support Rep. Pingree’s call not to allow fast-track passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and I urge Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to oppose “The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act” (S. 1900/H.R. 3830).

Susan Payne

Cape Elizabeth