Ex-Im Bank Decision Costs Jobs, Does Nothing for the Environment

By June 29, 2010Energy, Trade

From The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “U.S. agency’s action may kill Bucyrus deal, cost 1,000 jobs

MILWAUKEE — Up to 1,000 jobs at Bucyrus International Inc. and its suppliers could be in jeopardy as the result of a decision by the U.S. Export-Import Bank, funded by Congress, to deny several hundred million dollars in loan guarantees to a coal-fired power plant and mine in India.

About 300 of those jobs are at the Bucyrus plant in South Milwaukee, where the company has 1,410 employees and its headquarters. The remaining jobs are spread across 13 states, including Illinois, Minnesota and Indiana.

On Thursday, the Export-Import Bank denied financing for Reliance Power Ltd., an Indian power plant company, effectively wiping out about $600 million in coal mining equipment sales for Bucyrus, chief executive Tim Sullivan said.

NAM President John Engler spoke to the Export-Import Bank chairman, Fred Hochberg, on Monday, and issued a statement following the conversation:

This is a case of ideology winning over common sense and one thousand American jobs. The mine will be dug and the plant will be built. Advanced technology will be put to use to minimize the environmental impact. The only question is whether U.S. companies will supply the equipment or if Reliance Power will turn to non-U.S. suppliers.

In Wisconsin and all across the country, American workers think the answer to that question should be clear.

Export-Import Bank officials say the bank has limited options because a Congressional mandate and past litigation require it to consider environmental factors. Even if so, the facts in this case argue strongly for financing the deal.

Further, if there is indeed a law that prevents the bank’s approval based on narrow environmental concerns, then Congress should immediately act to provide the bank more flexibility so it can finance the project and support U.S. jobs.

Supporters will claim that the bank struck a blow for the environment, but it’s U.S. manufacturing employees who will feel the pain. The Export-Import Bank needs to change the policy, correct the mistake and get it right.

President Obama is scheduled to be in Racine, Wisc., for town hall meeting on the economy. Racine’s not that far from the south Milwaukee home of Bucyrus. The pressure is on …

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