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Senate Confirmation of Export-Import Bank Directors Means Billions More Dollars in Federal Fossil Fuel Financing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today voted to confirm three nominees to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The confirmation allows Ex-Im to establish a board quorum, clearing the way for the bank to revive its financing of billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects abroad.

After nearly four years without full authority to operate, today’s Senate vote paves the way for 12 fossil fuel projects in the agency’s queue to progress forward to a board vote — with many more applications for financing likely to come. These dirty projects will result in tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere annually.

“By approving these new directors, the Senate is letting the Export-Import Bank fuel the crisis of climate change,” said Doug Norlen, economic policy program director at Friends of the Earth. “The bank will return to its past practice of supporting projects that damage the global climate, harm community health, violate human rights and hasten corruption. Rather than addressing the threat of climate change proactively, this is a vote to make the Export-Import Bank Trump’s billion-dollar fossil fuel slush fund.”

The Senate voted to confirm Kimberly Reed as president of the Ex-Im Bank and Spencer Bachus III and Judith DelZoppo Pryor to serve on the bank’s board.

The Senate vote to revive the Export-Import Bank’s fossil fuel financing comes despite climate change experts urging faster action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Last November, the U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment found that more frequent and intense extreme weather events are already damaging ecosystems, agriculture, infrastructure, personal property and social systems to the tune of tens of billions of dollars — while increasing harm to human health and loss of life. 

“Under the control of the Trump administration, Ex-Im Bank has shown no interest in preventing the devastating impacts of their fossil fuel projects,” added Norlen. “Putting the Ex-Im Bank back to work will pump billions of dollars into fossil fuel projects around the world. At a moment when scientists urgently warn us to curb greenhouse gasses, the Senate has made the fight against climate change much more difficult.”       

In addition to worsening climate change, past Ex-Im Bank-supported fossil fuel projects abroad have damaged World Heritage areas like the Great Barrier Reef, hurt local communities, harmed human health, led to human rights abuses and spawned corruption, all while failing to address the energy needs of the poor.

Expert contact: Doug Norlen, (510) 900-3143, dnorlen@foe.org
Communications contact: Patrick Davis, (202) 222-0744, pdavis@foe.org

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