| WASHINGTON, July 3
WASHINGTON, July 3 The U.S. Export-Import Bank
is considering financing a massive coal-fired power plant in
India despite the fact the Obama administration has called on
domestic and global public lenders to stop funding coal-plants
in his climate change strategy.
The board of the Ex-Im Bank, the United States' export
credit agency, voted last December to stop funding coal plants
overseas - except in certain circumstances - in response to
President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, which called on
U.S. and international lenders to do so.
"We are currently reviewing the application, which we
received last month, to determine if it satisfies our criteria
of 'reasonable assurance of repayment' and to ensure that it
adheres to our environmental and other policies," an Ex-Im
The Ex-Im bank helps finance foreign purchases of U.S.
exports. Its future is currently in question as Congress debates
whether or not to re-auhtorize the 80-year-old institution,
whose funding expires Sept 30. House Republicans are divided on
the question while Democrats largely support it.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from coal state West Virginia
plans to offer compromise legislation to renew the bank's
charter by five years on the condition that it permanently
removes the restrictions on lending to coal projects.
The Ex-Im Bank in January temporarily suspended enforcement
of a lending ban to high-carbon intensity projects until
September due to a provision of a House appropriations bill that
defied the president's climate action plan.
This opened the window for the India project to apply for an
Ex-Im loan guarantee.
The coal project being reviewed by the bank is a 4,000 MW
integrated power plant and coal mines located in India's
Jharkand state in northeastern India.
It had initially been proposed by India's government as part
of a strategy to add an additional 100,000 megawatts of
generation capacity by 2017. Residents surrounding the coal
mining and power project have protested against it.
The supercritical plant, which uses more efficient boilers
than traditional coal-fired power plants, is owned by Reliance
Power, Tata Power and coal mining company
The Ex-Im Bank does not disclose which U.S. vendors have
applied for the loan until the loan is approved.
In 2010, the bank agreed to $900 million in loan guarantees
from Reliance Power to buy mining equipment from
Wisconsin-based Bucyrus, now owned by Caterpillar to
build a power plant in central India.
Last month, the United States presented a plan to the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's exports
credits group that would require any new power plant that gets
public funding to meet an emission performance standard,
emitting low levels of carbon dioxide.
Multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the
European Investment Bank have also pledged not to finance
coal-fired power plants under most circumstances.
(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Bernard Orr)