Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, October 31, 2019


Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121,

House Committee Green-lights Climate-killing Export-Import Bank

Democrats Reject Safeguards to Prevent Environmentally Disastrous Infrastructure Projects Abroad

WASHINGTON—The House Financial Services Committee this morning approved a bill reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, a taxpayer-funded operation that has financed oil pipelines, mines, power plants and other environmentally destructive projects around the world.

H.R. 4863, the ‘‘United States Export Finance Agency Act of 2019,’’ sponsored by Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for 10 years with only minimal restrictions on financing environmentally destructive projects overseas.

The Democratic majority rejected two amendments — one designed to restrict financing for fossil-fuel infrastructure and another that would require the bank to comply with U.S. environmental laws. All Democrats except Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voted for the legislation.

“The Export-Import Bank leaves a trail of environmental destruction everywhere it goes, and sadly that will continue if this terrible legislation becomes law,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s shameful that corporate Democrats are once again turning a blind eye to the climate crisis so that corporations can keep feeding off the welfare trough at taxpayers’ expense.”

Even though the Export-Import Bank is fully funded by American taxpayers, the bank does not comply with most U.S. environmental laws and provides virtually no real opportunity for the public to provide input on the projects it is considering funding. Congress has repeatedly altered the mandate of the bank over the course of its history to ensure that the bank furthers American interests, including prohibiting funding that may benefit terrorist organizations. But Congress has not addressed the environmental impacts of the bank’s activities.

Over the past 12 years, the Export-Import Bank has provided funding for more than 50 fossil-fuel infrastructure projects, including coal, oil and gas power plants, mines and pipelines. In contrast, over the same period, it has funded just six solar-power projects and six wind-energy projects. The bank continues to fund other environmentally damaging projects as well, including large-scale mines, even if those projects harm wildlife or World Heritage Sites.

“If the Export-Import Bank can’t function without destroying the environment, then the bank itself should be scrapped,” said Hartl.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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