Senate Support for U.S. Export-Import Bank Is Big Win for the 1%
On May 15 the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 2072, a bill to reauthorize the federal government’s Export-Import Bank, which provides billions of dollars in public financing for harmful fossil fuel projects worldwide. Passage of the bill will allow the agency to increase its portfolio cap from $100 billion to $140 billion. It now moves to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
“By passing today’s Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, the Senate ensured that some of the country’s most profitable and polluting companies, like ExxonMobil, will continue to enjoy billions of dollars in public subsidies, leaving behind them a wake of damaged environments and harmed communities,” said Doug Norlen, policy director at Pacific Environment.
The passage of the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization bill omits environmental, social and some anti-corruption reforms necessary to hold the agency accountable for the damage done by the projects it finances. The bill’s omission of public interest reforms comes despite earlier passage of a Senate Banking Committee version of the bill with language promoting more renewable energy, and a previously passed House Financial Services version that would have established an independent accountability mechanism to address the growing number of severe violations of the agency’s environmental and social policies.
However, two provisions of the bill could draw more public attention to Ex-Im Bank fossil fuel projects. The first is a provision that requires public notice and comment for any Ex-Im Bank transaction exceeding $100 million, which will cover many Ex-Im Bank fossil fuel projects. The second is a requirement for the U.S. to initiate and pursue negotiations with other countries’ export credit agencies to substantially reduce, with the ultimate goal of eliminating, subsidized export financing programs and other forms of export subsidies. Many export credit agencies subsidize fossil fuel projects.
“When negotiating to end export financing subsidies, the Obama administration should start by cutting the Ex-Im Bank’s bloated support for fossil fuel projects,” said Michelle Chan, dconomic policy director at Friends of the Earth. “This would go a long way towards demonstrating that the U.S. is serious about Obama’s G20 pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.”
Environmentalists point out that Senate passage of the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization bill does nothing to curb the agency’s skyrocketing support for fossil fuel projects, which surpassed $4.5 billion in 2011, six times as much as for renewable energy. Moreover, an amendment introduced by Sen. Bennet, calling on Ex-Im Bank to increase renewable energy financing, and to identify barriers to doing so, was defeated.
"The Senate's failure to approve clean energy and accountability reforms keeps the Ex-Im Bank hopelessly stuck in the past and cedes U.S. market share, jobs, and competitiveness in the clean energy race," said Justin Guay, Washington representative of the Sierra Club’s International Finance Program.
“It’s bad enough that the Obama administration pawns publicly-owned coal for export, and seriously entertains approval of the tar sands pipeline. Now it is complicit in an Export-Import Bank reauthorization bill without any requirement to clean up the agency’s portfolio. It's as if the Obama administration wants to push climate pollution,” said Kyle Ash, senior legislative representative, Greenpeace.
For more information, click here.
- Construction Begins on Keystone XL Pipeline in Montana - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Approves Keystone XL Pipeline, Groups Vow 'The Fight Is ... ›
- Keystone XL Pipeline Construction to Forge Ahead During ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.
- Bond Fire South of LA Forces 25,000 to Flee - EcoWatch ›
- 'Explosive' Southern California Lake Fire Spreads to 10,000 Acres ... ›
- 10 Wildfires Ignite Around Los Angeles in Unseasonable Wind and ... ›
"Prevention is the cure for child/teen cancer." This is the welcoming statement on a website called 'TheReasonsWhy.Us', where families affected by childhood cancers can sign up for a landmark new study into the potential environmental causes.
Nearly 1.6 million people in the southern part of Madagascar have faced food insecurity since 2016, experiencing one drought after another, the United Nations World Food Program reported.
- Half a Degree of Warming Makes a Big Difference to Global Food ... ›
- UN Warns of Impending Food Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Global Hunger Is Increasing, New UN Report Finds - EcoWatch ›
By Monir Ghaedi
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.
European satellites continue to provide data on climate change.