The U.S. Export-Import Bank said it has adopted revisions to its environmental procedures and guidelines governing “high-carbon intensity projects” in effort to reduce overall pollution and continue to support American exports.
“Since 2009, we have supported nearly 1.2 million jobs” related to U.S. exports, said Fred P. Hochberg, bank chairman and president, in a statement. “We can’t do it, however, without considering the environmental costs associated with transactions.”
The revised guidelines require carbon capture and storage in most countries to secure Ex-Im Bank financing for coal-fired power plants, but would provide flexibility for the bank with respect to meeting energy needs in the poorest countries.
The policy revisions were drafted by Ex-Im Bank staff and reviewed by exporters, the public, environmental groups, the White House and other federal agencies. “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.
“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,” Hochberg warned. “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.”
In 1995, Ex-Im Bank was the first export credit agency to adopt environmental procedures and guidelines governing its export financing. In 1999, it began tracking and publicly reporting projected carbon emissions produced by projects it financed. The bank, in 2009, further approved a formal carbon policy, and in 2010 approved supplemental guidelines for high-carbon intensity projects.
Ex-Im Bank said the newest guideline revisions are “not designed to impact mining projects or coal exports produced by American coal miners.”