Export-Import Bank Votes to Proceed with Bahrain Project Financing in Closed-Door Process
WASHINGTON – Today the board of directors at the United States Export-Import Bank voted to notify Congress about potential financing for fossil fuel expansion in Bahrain. The board is expected to vote next month to approve the project. The vote for this project, which would expand drilling for oil and gas wells, comes after resignations from climate advisors who were shut out of project evaluations and deliberations. EXIM also failed to disclose the project funding amount, despite pressure from civil society and environmental groups.
This project approval comes on the heels of President Biden’s pause on domestic LNG export permit approvals while the administration studies the climate impact of fossil gas exports, which affect global fossil fuel emissions. EXIM is also considering funding a gas project in Guyana and liquefied natural gas in Papua New Guinea, over objections from climate activists.
Friends of the Earth United States and partners sent an open letter to EXIM last month, asking the bank to halt a financing agreement of $400 million to Trafigura, which was approved in July 2023. This letter questions EXIM’s due process in analyzing loan recipients and its method of reconsideration when climate assessments are inadequate, and when financing recipients are charged with corruption.
EXIM has approved many fossil fuel projects since 2020, despite receiving directives from the Biden administration to move toward renewable energy financing. In 2023 the institution funded nearly $1 billion for overseas oil and gas development, violating President Biden’s 2021 Executive Order.
Kate DeAngelis, Senior Program Manager of International Finance for Friends of the Earth, said this:
Time and again the Export-Import Bank proves itself to a be a loose cannon, blatantly disregarding White House climate guidance to funnel hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars toward fossil fuels. EXIM cannot be expected to make good decisions with public financing if it cannot justify the logic of its own decisions or be trusted by its own committees. We call on EXIM Director Reta Jo Lewis to immediately halt all fossil fuel financing.
Contact: Shaye Skiff, Friends of the Earth United States, [email protected]