Tags: coal | energy | overseas | ban

House GOP: US Ban on Funding Coal Energy Plants Overseas Hurts Poor

Saturday, 14 Dec 2013 05:46 PM

By Todd Beamon

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An Obama administration policy that strictly limits American financing for building coal-fired power plants overseas has been attacked by House Republicans for harming the poor.

"Failure to assist these countries based on policies that the United States has not even established domestically for its own new plants raises questions about the administration’s priorities and whether its actions comport with the long-standing policy of the United States to assist developing nations rise out of poverty," GOP Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and Ed Whitfield of Kentucky said in a letter this week to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

Upton is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while Whitfield is a ranking member of the panel.

The letter was first reported by The National Journal.

In October, the Treasury Department said that it would effectively ban funding for plants in developing nations that lack technology that would keep carbon dioxide produced by power plants from being released into the atmosphere, according to the Journal.

The move is part of the White House's climate change plan that begun in June. The policy exempts projects in developing countries if the plants use the most efficient technology available and if no other economically feasible alternatives are available, the Journal reports.

This week, however, the United States opposed a $900 million loan approved by the Asian Development Bank in Manila to Pakistan's government that would be used to convert its Jamshoro Power Plant in Islamabad to a coal-fired one, The Express Tribune of Pakistan reports.

The loan was backed by Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan — and the re-engineered plant is expected to save Pakistan about $535 million a year on fuel imports, according to the Express Tribune.

The U.S. opposed the loan, Upton and Whitfield said in their letter, "because of its global climate change policy, not because of the needs of the Pakistani poor who may profoundly benefit from increased access to affordable, reliable electricity."

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