WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—July 27, 2015. Today the Senate voted to invoke cloture on an amendment to the multi-year transportation bill that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. This amendment includes language from S. 819, which “prohibits the Bank from promulgating policies that discriminate against any type of energy source, or deny financing of an application, solely based on the industry involved in the application.” This language discriminates against poor communities as it could result in more fossil fuel projects that will worsen air and water pollution and associated harm to human health, as well as human rights abuses.
The Export-Import Bank is a federal agency that finances U.S. corporations’ business activities abroad. In recent years, the Ex-Im Bank has financed billions of dollars in harmful extractive and fossil fuel projects that worsen climate change and lead to human rights abuses. As part of his Climate Action Plan, President Obama ended Ex-Im’s financing for coal plants abroad, except in limited circumstances. These policies have also helped in persuading multilateral development banks and the export credit and development finance agencies of a number of other countries to adopt similar measures.
“Senators had the opportunity to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank through Sen. Shaheen’s bill, which does not include the odious discrimination provision. By advancing the discrimination language rather than the Shaheen bill the Senate showed its willingness to throw climate and communities under the bus in order to protect their favorite fossil fuel companies,” said Doug Norlen, senior economic policy program manager at Friends of the Earth.
“The Senate has wasted an opportunity by voting to reauthorize the bank without ending the subsidization of harmful fossil fuel financing,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“Unfortunately, it looks like there is a bipartisan effort to undo one of the best parts of the Obama Climate Plan, the ban on public financing of coal plants overseas,” said Kyle Ash of Greenpeace. “Even more unfortunate is that the President has done little to defend his own policy, despite continuing to act as if the US is still a global leader in phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. The bending over backwards to reauthorize an even worse Export-Import Bank is one more illustration that, for the Senate leadership and the White House alike, supporting big business comes far before climate.”