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Ryan: Washington’s Environmental Overreach Kills Wisconsin Jobs

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June 29, 2010 | Kevin Seifert ((202) 226-7326 ) | comments

WASHINGTON – Wisconsin’s 1st District Congressman Paul Ryan continues to speak out about the painful impact of Washington’s misguided economic policies on Wisconsin workers. News broke over the weekend that the Obama Administration killed a contract with Wisconsin employer Bucyrus International Inc. in an effort to “transition away from high-carbon investments,” threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of Wisconsin families. In addition to the direct impact on Bucyrus workers, the South Milwaukee-based employer has 250 suppliers in Wisconsin that employ 15,000 people, according to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Today, Obama will be meeting with Congressional leaders to map out a legislative strategy to push a costly cap-and-trade national energy tax through the Senate. The punitive cap-and-trade legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives one-year prior to this weekend’s painful Bucyrus news. Tomorrow, President Barack Obama will be visiting Racine, Wisconsin – and will no doubt have to explain the consequences of his economic and environmental agenda on Wisconsin jobs to Wisconsin Workers. 

Yesterday, Congressman Ryan issued the following statement, posted at the Journal Times of Racine:

“Last Thursday, the U.S. Export-Import Bank announced its intention to deny several hundred million dollars in loan guarantees to Reliance Power Ltd., an Indian utility company building the country’s largest coal-fired power generation station near Sasan, India. 

“Bucyrus International Inc., which is based in South Milwaukee, won an international competitive-bidding process to supply an estimated $600 million worth of mining equipment for this project. It is important to note that Bucyrus’ bid relied on favorable financing rates from the Export-Import Bank, whose stated mission is to ‘assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets.’ By declining to finance Bucyrus’ bid, as many as one thousand American jobs will be lost, including hundreds in Wisconsin. Worse yet, construction on the Sasan project is already moving forward – but instead of using American-made products – our foreign competitors will now provide the equipment needed for the project. 

“Coming on the one-year anniversary of the House’s passage of the cap-and-tax legislation, the Export-Import Bank’s decision provides a troubling sign of things to come. This was the first project considered using the Bank’s new ‘Environmental Guidelines’ for coal powered initiatives, and the statement from Fred Hochberg, the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank, provides chilling insight into the implications of the Administration’s decision-making process for American manufacturers: ‘
President Obama has made clear his Administration’s commitment to transition away from high-carbon investments and toward a cleaner-energy future. After careful deliberation, the Export-Import Bank voted not to proceed with this project because of the projected adverse environmental-impact.'

“The Administration’s actions show that attempting to reduce global warming– by a fraction of a degree over the next century – is a higher priority than keeping Wisconsin residents employed now. The vibrancy and competitiveness of the American economy should never take a back seat to political ideology and it’s reprehensible that the Administration has arrived at the faulty conclusion that we are incapable of enacting energy policies that are both environmentally friendly and economically beneficial. 

“American products and workers can compete with the best in the world, if they are given the chance- unfortunately, in this instance, they were not. Should the Administration fail to reverse this decision, or worse, should it continue with muscling through a byzantine cap-and-trade scheme, we need only look to Bucyrus to see the repercussions. 

“As this flawed political ideology permeates, the U.S. will continue to lose manufacturing jobs to our foreign competitors. This isn’t a question of reducing the carbon footprint of the project – Bucyrus’ foreign competitors will quickly fill the gap left by this narrow-minded decision. Construction at Sasan will continue with or without the high-quality, environmentally friendly equipment that should have been provided by Bucyrus. Countries like India and China will use ‘dirtier’ technology and production methods, which expel more carbon into the atmosphere, and ultimately, global temperatures and total emissions will remain unaffected.

“By putting ideology ahead of our nation’s economic well being, this Administration is making a conscious decision to place U.S. companies at a distinct competitive disadvantage at a time when we are struggling to emerge from a prolonged recession. Rather than exporting U.S. jobs and products overseas, Washington should be doing everything possible to promote investment here at home and develop policies which make the U.S. more attractive- rather than less attractive- to international businesses and investors.”

Letter from Reps. Ryan and Sensenbrenner to Export-Import Bank of the United States' Chairman


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