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USA: Export Agencies Sued Over Global Warming

The Washington Post
August 27th, 2002

Two environmental groups and the city of Boulder, Colo., plan to file a lawsuit today charging two federal agencies with contributing to climate change through their financing policies.

Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the city said they are filing the suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of "members and citizens who are victims of global warming." The action is against the Export-Import Bank, an independent federal agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, and the Overseas Private Investment Corp., which provides government- backed insurance and loans to help U.S. businesses compete in emerging markets.

A statement from Friends of the Earth said that the two agencies provided "over $32 billion in financing and insurance for oil fields, pipelines and coal-fired power plants over the past 10 years without assessing their contribution to global warming and their impact on the U.S. environment." The groups said such assessments are required by law.

Boulder's city council voted to join the lawsuit. Mayor Will Toor said the city's environmental efforts will be hurt by climate change and called the suit "one way to force the federal government to start paying attention."

OPIC spokesman Lawrence Spinelli said the agency "considers protecting the environment to be a top priority as we decide which projects to support."

The Export-Import Bank spokesman Bo Ollison said the bank is committed to procedures to "ensure that our support of transactions is not used for environmentally detrimental projects.

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