FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2020
Collin Rees, collin [at] priceofoil.org
Steny Hoyer Shills for Big Oil as HEROES Acts Shuns Safeguards Against a Fossil Fuel Bailout
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Democratic House leadership released the 1,800-page HEROES Act, the first proposal for the next round of COVID-19 stimulus efforts. Despite calling for over $3 trillion in relief funds, the draft bill does not contain protections to prevent heavily indebted fossil fuel companies from accessing this money.
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told the media he supports a multibillion-dollar bailout of the oil and gas industry through Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil purchases, comparing this to ensuring hospitals have a ready supply of personal protective equipment. In response, Collin Rees, Senior Campaigner with Oil Change International, released the following statement:
“Steny Hoyer’s crass comments show why the fossil fuel industry continues to clamor for a bailout to pay off its past bad debts — because leaders like Rep. Hoyer refuse to rule it out. Equating a bailout for Big Oil with basic protections for nurses and healthcare workers in a pandemic is completely egregious.
“House leadership must stand up for working people without throwing a lifeline to fossil fuel billionaires. That means including the provisions of the ReWIND Act in the next iteration of the HEROES Act and continuing to fight against Big Oil bailouts in future stimulus packages.
“The HEROES Act contains important provisions to aid frontline and essential workers, as well as a critical prohibition against utility shutoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are key pieces of a humane response to deliver urgently needed aid to working people, but they can’t come at the expense of locking in climate catastrophe and bailing out fossil fuel billionaires and their Wall Street friends. It’s time to put people over polluters once and for all.”
- The HEROES Act draft legislation can be seen here: “Health and Economic 6 Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act“
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s comments on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve can be seen here: “Hoyer backs oil purchases as Dems release COVID-19 bill“
- Over 40 members of Congress have cosponsored the ReWIND Act, a bill that would block fossil fuel companies from accessing CARES Act funds and stop attempts by the Trump Administration to bail out the oil, gas, and coal industries: “ReWIND Act Prohibits Bailout of Fossil Fuel Industry with CARES Act Funds During Public Health Crisis“
- Recent polling has shown that by wide margins, the public strongly supports prioritizing clean energy over fossil fuel companies in the COVID-19 recovery, and strongly opposes using federal dollars to bail out the fossil fuel industry: “New Poll: Voters Prioritize Directing Stimulus Funds to Clean Energy Rather Than to Fossil Fuels“