Financing was approved Thursday for a mining project in India, which will save hundreds of jobs at a Wisconsin manufacturing company. The U.S. Export-Import Bank approved $917 million in loan guarantees for Reliance Power, which will use equipment from Milwaukee’s International to excavate coal for a new power plant in India. Bucyrus devoted 326 jobs in Milwaukee to the project, plus over 700 jobs in a dozen other states. But those jobs were jeopardized this summer, when the Export-Import Bank rejected the loan guarantees. Bank officials said the project went against the Obama administration’s environmental goals.
But Wisconsin’s state-and-federal officials were up in arms – and President Obama was going to get an earful about it during a trip to Racine, when the bank changed its mind just hours before he landed. In a statement, Ex-Im bank chairman Fred Hochberg said the approval represented a careful balance between the need to support American jobs, while encouraging renewable energy overseas.