The New York Times, September 17, 2014
Protecting the Barrier Reef
To the Editor:
“Australia Unveils Its Plan to Protect Great Barrier Reef” (news article, Sept. 16) correctly notes criticism of the Australian government for approving coastal industrial development that may force the United Nations to reclassify this renowned World Heritage area as “in danger.” Yet the United States is also partly to blame.
In 2012 the federal Export-Import Bank provided nearly $5 billion in public financing for two enormous liquid natural gas projects being built inside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, resulting in large-scale dredging, harm to marine wildlife and other damage contributing to the potential “in danger” reclassification. American environmental groups have sued to stop this destructive financing.
Ironically, the Export-Import Bank could itself be considered “in danger,” as some members of Congress seek to abolish the agency; they consider its subsidies to be corporate welfare. Ending this type of ecologically harmful corporate handouts would be a win-win for all.
Mr. Norlen is a senior economic policy program manager, Friends of the Earth. Ms. Uhlemann is international director, Center for Biological Diversity.
This article originally appeared here.
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