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Statement: Paycheck Protection Program support for oil and gas industry “shortsighted”

New data reveal need to shift federal priorities, invest in cleaner future
For Immediate Release

BOSTON -- Data released by the Small Business Administration this week revealed more than three billion dollars of coronavirus aid went to oil and gas operations. Fossil fuel operations that received funding include oil and gas drilling, coal mining and pipeline construction. The aid was distributed through the Paycheck Protection Program, which was established by the CARES Act in March with the purpose of providing small businesses with necessary funds to keep workers on their payrolls and weather the health and financial crises posed by COVID-19.

In response, Environment America’s Director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy Emma Searson released the following statement:

“The oil and gas industry was in dire financial straits well before COVID-19 struck, and recent utility decisions to abandon pipeline projects in favor of clean and renewable energy investments offer a timely reminder that fossil fuels were already a risky business.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., Environment America has called on federal leaders to think twice before propping up an industry that is neither environmentally nor economically sustainable. But the Treasury and Small Business Administration is doing just that. The federal government’s ongoing efforts to prioritize polluters are disappointing and shortsighted.  

“We don’t need to keep digging a deeper hole by supporting activities that contribute to climate change and environmental destruction. As we make decisions about rebuilding and recovering from COVID-19, we must invest instead in building a cleaner, healthier future.”