This week at a press conference for the release of the U.S. Export-Import Bank's (Ex-Im) annual report on the agency's competitiveness, Chairman Fred Hochberg called for more transparency from international Export Credit Agencies (EAC). But when we asked about increasing transparency for the billions of U.S. taxpayer financing Ex-Im allots to fossil fuel projects, we got the same, tired excuses for the Bank's undying support for dirty, outdated coal technology:
- Hochberg claimed that Ex-Im only finances coal projects in countries like South Africa with strong environmental policies already in place. However, an environmental policy is only as good as its enforcement. The Bank awarded over $800 million for the massive Kusile coal-fired power plant in South Africa, despite the fact that the plant is being built in an area that already exceeded South Africa's own limits for pollution known to cause health problems. Of course, our own environmental standards aren't always that great. Mountaintop removal coal mining is literally killing communities in Appalachia, but this May Ex-Im approved financing to export West Virginia and Pennsylvania coal and pollution abroad. Hochberg talks the talk, but he doesn't walk the walk.