Expose U.S. gave back-door funding to climate killer projects
Trump’s Ex-Im Bank appointment could accelerate climate change
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A multi-part Columbia School of Journalism investigation published this week reveals that the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed tens of billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects under the Obama administration, triple the levels seen under the Bush administration. This federal government agency’s actions resulted in greenhouse gas emissions exceeding the reductions in President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Since climate denier Donald Trump will soon control both Ex-Im Bank’s leadership and the Clean Power Plan, he could soon make Ex-Im Bank push global climate change to catastrophic levels.
Additional story angles:
- Ex-Im Bank financing has worsened climate change and damaged the environment.
- Ex-Im Bank projects have also been known to lead to human rights abuses in places such as Papua New Guinea, spawn corruption in Nigeria and increase geopolitical instability. One of the most controversial fossil fuel projects that Ex-Im Bank financed was the Sasan coal plant in India that is plagued with human rights violations and resulted in 19 deaths.
- Trump will be responsible for nominating a new Ex-Im Bank chairman and subsequent board members, which will require Senate confirmations. At the same time, right wing Tea Party senators who want to abolish Ex-Im Bank continue to block bank board nominees, preventing Ex-Im Bank from having a quorum necessary to approve projects over $10 million. Trump may therefore clash with his own supporters in the Senate.
- Last week Bradley Bondi was appointed to be the transition team leader for Ex-Im Bank. Bondi is a consummate D.C./Wall Street establishment insider and former government regulator who was accused of censoring and bullying a whistleblower during the financial crisis. Now a K Street/Wall Street lawyer defending companies and investors against government regulators, he is described as “the first choice among Boards of Directors and Audit Committees of the Fortune 500 when their company is faced with SEC or DOJ problems according to the Securities Docket.”
A Friends of the Earth lawsuit pushed Ex-Im Bank policies to protect the climate but it is now considering financing at least two new major fossil fuel projects:
- an offshore Liquefied Natural Gas project on the coast of Mozambique that is rife with human rights abuses and connected to corruption issues, and;
- a coal plant in Vietnam despite the fact that Ex-Im rejected financing for another coal plant in Vietnam in 2013 on the basis of environmental concerns.
- President Obama has the power to reject the Mozambique and Vietnam fossil fuel projects before he leaves office.
Kate DeAngelis: international policy analyst, Mozambique LNG project, (202) 222-0747, [email protected]
Jenny Bock: economic justice campaigner, Vietnam coal project, (202) 222-0754, [email protected]
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744, [email protected]