Over the weekend, I wrote about the anti-coal policies of Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress coming home to roost in Wisconsin, where 1,000 jobs were put at risk when the US Export-Import Bank refused to loan Bucyrus money to win a contract in India. The bank claimed that it refused to make the loan in direct consequence of the stated climate-change priorities of Obama and the Democrats. A few days later, the bank is backpedaling:
The U.S. Export-Import Bank backed down Wednesday from an environmental-protection stand that threatened to cost hundreds of U.S. jobs.
The federal export-credit agency said Wednesday its board will reconsider a decision last week against providing loan guarantees to help finance the purchase of U.S. coal-mining equipment by Reliance Power Ltd of India. The Ex-Im Bank had denied that support on the ground that the equipment was to be used to feed a new coal-fired power plant that will create carbon-dioxide emissions.
In a letter to Reliance Wednesday, the bank invited the company to reapply for the guarantees. The bank said it now would take into account Reliance’s plans to build two solar-powered electricity plants in India and their potential to offset environmental damage from the coal project.
Why the sudden change? Hmmm:
The reversal came just in time for a visit by President Barack Obama today to Wisconsin, the home base of Bucyrus International Inc., which hopes to sell the mining equipment to Reliance with the help of loan guarantees. President Obama is due to give a speech on the economy in Racine, Wis., and then take questions from the public.
Top Democratic politicians in the state had protested loudly to the White House and Congress over the denial of the guarantees. Ex-Im Bank officials then scrambled to find a way to rethink the decision.
Well, if I was in charge of Bucyrus, I wouldn’t count my chickens unless Obama decides to visit Wisconsin again to hatch some eggs. Being invited to reapply for the loan guarantees doesn’t necessarily mean that the bank, which is run by Congress, will approve them the second time, either. Obama should have his feet held to the fire today in Racine on this issue, and the crowd shouldn’t allow him to brag about the reconsideration without noting that it was his policies that got the first application rejected.
What other projects has the Export-Import Bank rejected for the same reasons? Will this lead to a change in policy, or will the E-I Bank only respond when people make a big enough stink about Obama’s jobs-killing global warming policies?