Obama’s promise to bankrupt coal industry to cost 1,000 jobs in upper Midwest

posted at 12:00 pm on June 27, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

During the campaign, Barack Obama promised to bankrupt any new coal-burning plants in the US through his global-warming policies.  Congress has followed suit with a cap-and-trade bill that Harry Reid keeps promising to revive.  One firm in Wisconsin shows exactly what happens when politicians intervene to attempt to conduct social engineering in the energy sector. Bucyrus just lost a $600 million project for a new coal-burning electricity plant in India, thanks to a decision by the Congressionally-funded US Export-Import Bank to deny the Wisconsin firm credit, based in part on Barack Obama’s policies:

Up to 1,000 jobs at Bucyrus International Inc. and its suppliers could be in jeopardy as the result of a decision by the U.S. Export-Import Bank, funded by Congress, to deny several hundred million dollars in loan guarantees to a coal-fired power plant and mine in India.

About 300 of those jobs are at the Bucyrus plant in South Milwaukee, where the company has 1,410 employees and its headquarters. The remaining jobs are spread across 13 states, including Illinois, Minnesota and Indiana.

On Thursday, the Export-Import Bank denied financing for Reliance Power Ltd., an Indian power plant company, effectively wiping out about $600 million in coal mining equipment sales for Bucyrus, chief executive Tim Sullivan said.

The fossil fuel project was the first to come before the government-run bank since it adopted a climate-change policy to settle a lawsuit and to meet Obama administration directives.

“President Obama has made clear his administration’s commitment to transition away from high-carbon investments and toward a cleaner-energy future,” Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg said in a statement. “After careful deliberation, the Export-Import Bank board voted not to proceed with this project because of the projected adverse environmental impact.”

This decision won’t stop one carbon molecule from hitting the air.  In fact, it will likely make carbon emissions worse.  India will look for other vendors to supply the equipment, probably from neighboring Russia or China, as they will continue to build and operate the plant.  Both nations compete in the same marketplace as Bucyrus, but they don’t work as cleanly as the American company does, which means the end result will be lower efficiency and more pollution.

Democrats like Obama keep talking about eeeeeevil corporations that export jobs overseas to save costs rather than keep them in the US.  Well, Obama and his Congress just sent 1,000 jobs overseas — jobs Americans lost, and jobs that either Russian or Chinese workers will get instead. And instead of bankrupting this new coal plant, they just made it dirtier.  Good job!

Two Democrats in Wisconsin, neither up for re-election, scrambled to find political cover in the wake of the devastating decision.  Governor Jim Doyle and Senator Herb Kohl both publicly objected to the decision and promised to push for a reversal, even though there is no appeal at the Export-Import Bank.  Senator Russ Feingold, who is running for re-election, has been quiet about the debacle thus far.  The most liberal member of the Senate has expressed skepticism about cap-and-trade, but only in the way carbon allotments punish Wisconsin in order to benefit California and Massachusetts — the two states where the bill’s authors reside in both the House and Senate versions of the bill.

The best way to ensure that these kinds of decisions cease is to get rid of Democratic control in Washington DC.  Wisconsin voters have the opportunity to signal their displeasure with the Bucyrus decision by canceling Feingold’s Senate career in the same way that the Export-Import Bank canceled a thousand jobs in the upper Midwest.


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