To: Fred Hochberg, Chairman & President of the U.S. Export-Import Bank
Don’t export our pollution to Bangladesh! The proposed Orion Khulna coal plant would gravely damage the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, threaten the human rights of thousands of local people, and contribute to runaway climate change. In addition, the Orion coal plant proposed to be built near Dhaka threatens the air and water of 17 million people. We urge you to publicly reject funding both of these projects.
The Sundarbans in Bangladesh -- the world’s largest mangrove forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a safe haven for the endangered Bengal tiger -- is under serious threat from Big Coal.1
Orion Group, a Bangladeshi conglomerate with a history of corruption allegations, is building two coal-fired power plants.2 One plant’s infrastructure and emissions would have devastating impacts on the World Heritage site as it is located right by the Sundarbans.3 The other plant would be located right outside the capital, Dhaka, a metropolitan area home to 17 million people.4
Building coal plants on the forest’s fringes means abusing the rights of the thousands of people who live near and depend on the Sundarbans. Locals are displaced from their land and deprived of their livelihoods.5 Fierce citizen opposition to the projects has been ignored at best, suppressed at worst.6 And yet, Orion has already started construction -- before receiving formal environmental clearance!
What’s more, Orion has possibly approached the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank,7 a government agency that has already used billions of taxpayer dollars to finance fossil fuel projects abroad,8 for funding for these harmful coal plants in Bangladesh. U.S. Ex-Im Bank’s support for these projects would grease the wheels for coal development abroad, while domestically the U.S. moves away from this dirty fuel. Not to mention, these deals would call into question U.S Ex-Im Bank’s commitment to its own policies on climate change and human rights.
The U.S. Ex-Im Bank must not funnel taxpayer dollars into dirty coal plants dangerously close to a unique biodiversity hotspot and a major population center. It is a betrayal of the Paris climate agreement, where just months ago the United States joined the rest of the world in committing to keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. U.S. Ex-Im Bank must be part of the just energy transition and invest in renewables that will help increase access to electricity and won’t harm our environment. Tell the U.S. Ex-Im Bank: Don’t finance dangerous coal projects in Bangladesh! Publicly reject financing for coal projects that threaten world treasures like the Sundarbans and pollute the air of millions!