Export-Import Bank Board Adopts Revised Environmental Guidelines to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

General Press Releases Friday December 13, 2013 15:20
WASHINGTON--13 Dec--PRNewswire/InfoQuest

The board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) today adopted revisions to its environmental procedures and guidelines governing high-carbon intensity projects, aligning the Bank with President Obama's goal of reducing carbon pollution, while maintaining the Bank's focus on continuing to help create and support American export-related jobs.

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"No one has been more supportive of U.S. exports and the American jobs they produce and maintain than this Bank and this board. Since 2009, we have supported nearly 1.2 million jobs." said Fred P. Hochberg, Ex-Im chairman and president. "We can't do it, however, without considering the environmental costs associated with transactions."

The revised guidelines adopted today require carbon capture and storage in most countries in order to secure Bank financing for coal-fired power plants, but would provide flexibility for the Bank with respect to the important energy needs of the poorest countries in the world.

The policy revisions were drafted by Ex-Im Bank staff and reviewed extensively by exporters, the public, leading environmental groups, the Administration and other federal agencies through an extensive and transparent vetting process.

"The Bank engages in an important balancing act — in supporting our exporters, we have to weigh the potential impacts on the environment associated with our financing," Hochberg said. "This balancing act is a Congressional mandate, is a directive in our Charter, is part of our mission and it is something we at the Bank take seriously."

Hochberg noted that: "Our proposed guidelines would balance the Bank's obligations to its many different stakeholders and also its efforts to support the growth of export-related U.S. jobs."

"Without guidelines or limits, ever-increasing numbers of new coal plants worldwide will just continue to emit more carbon pollution into the air we breathe," said Hochberg. "But America cannot do this alone. I strongly support the Administration's efforts to build an international consensus such that other nations follow our lead in restricting financing of new coal-fired power plants."

Ex-Im has been a leader among the world's export credit agencies (ECAs) in adopting measures to protect the environment while financing exports.
  • In 1995 the Bank was the first ECA to adopt environmental procedures and guidelines governing its export financing.
  • In 1999 the Bank began tracking and publicly reporting projected carbon emissions produced by projects it financed. Even today Ex-Im is the only ECA that tracks and reports carbon emissions.
  • In 2009 the Bank approved a formal carbon policy, and in 2010 it approved supplemental guidelines for high-carbon intensity projects.

The guideline revisions approved today are not designed to impact mining projects or coal exports produced by American coal miners. Ex-Im staff have worked with other agencies to ensure that the flexibility of these guidelines would be consistent with those of other federal agencies.

In addition to approving the revisions to its environmental guidelines, the board today approved several transactions that together will support more than 11,200 U.S. export-related jobs.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that creates and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years (from Fiscal Year 2008), Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers nearly $1.6 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.

Ex-Im Bank approved $35.8 billion in total authorizations in FY 2012 – an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6.1 billion directly supporting small-business export sales – also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank's total authorizations are supporting an estimated $50 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 255,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visitwww.exim.gov.

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