Republican lawmakers bat for loan to Reliance Power

June 30th, 2010 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 30 (IANS) Two Republican lawmakers have asked the US Export-Import Bank to reverse its decision to deny loan guarantees to India’s Reliance Power Ltd for a coal-fired plant in Madhya Pradesh.

The 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”, House members Jim Sensenbrenner and Paul Ryan, said in a letter to the bank’s chairman.

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, they said.

“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.”

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.

“There’s no clearer demonstration of how this administration’s environmental activism will cost US jobs than this ruling by the Export-Import Bank,” said Sensenbrenner, top Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

“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,” said Ryan, Ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee.

Meanwhile, an environmentalist group has applauded the “Ex-Im Bank’s correct decision-making” in denying loan guarantees for the Reliance’s coal-fired power plant.

“This is an extremely important precedent because it’s the first time the US Ex-Im Bank has declined the financing of a project that is harmful to the climate,” said Doug Norlen, policy director for San Francisco-based Pacific Environment.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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