The U.S. Export-Import Bank should place jobs over environmental activism and reverse its recent decision not to extend loan guarantees to an Indian power plant that planned to make a significant equipment purchase from a Wisconsin company, Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis, and Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a letter to the bank's chairman.
"With the national unemployment rate continuing to hover close to 10 percent, all steps should be taken to reinvigorate the economy and bring jobs to the United States," the letter to Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg said. "However, with this decision, you are simply exporting American jobs to China."
By rejecting a bid for an approximate $600 million loan guarantee for Reliance Power Ltd.'s coal-fired power generation station near Sasan, India, the Export-Import Bank prevented South Milwaukee-based manufacturer Bucyrus International Inc. from creating more than 1,000 jobs, Sensenbrenner and Ryan said in the letter. Bucyrus International's chief executive told the media that the decision would cost up to 300 jobs in Wisconsin, and up to 700 jobs in other states.
"There's no clearer demonstration of how this Administration's environmental activism will cost U.S. jobs than this ruling by the Export-Import Bank," said Sensenbrenner, Ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "This baffling decision will have a direct impact on Wisconsin's people and its economy and it shows to just what lengths the Administration will go to push its environmental agenda. The only guarantee that the Export-Import Bank offers is that no Americans will benefit from this project."
The bank's decision won't prevent India from moving forward with the project, the letter said, but instead of purchasing equipment from an American manufacturer, Reliance Power will likely turn to firms in China and Belarus for its industrial hardware. "Climate change is a global issue and greenhouse gas emissions are not confined within geographic boundaries," the letter said. "Therefore, your decision not only eliminates American jobs, it will not mitigate climate change in any manner."
"The Administration's actions show that attempting to reduce reducing global warming -- by a fraction of a degree over the next century -- is a higher priority than keeping Wisconsin residents employed now. The vibrancy and competitiveness of the American economy should never take a back seat to political ideology and it's reprehensible that the Administration has arrived at the faulty conclusion that we are incapable of enacting energy policies that are both environmentally friendly and economically beneficial," said Ryan, Ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee. "American products and workers can compete with the best in the world, if they are given a chance -- unfortunately, in this instance, they were not. Should the Administration fail to reverse this decision, or worse, should it continue with muscling through a byzantine cap-and-trade scheme, we need only to look to Bucyrus to see the repercussions."
The bank's decision also reflected the Administration's environmental policies, Sensenbrenner and Ryan said. After the decision, Hochberg released a statement citing the Administration's "commitment to transition away from high-carbon investments." The Departments of State and Treasury also support the bank's decision to reject the loan guarantees.