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Big Oil and Gas companies received ~$72M total in the small business bailout

By: Michelle Lewis

The March US coronavirus stimulus package, the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, featured the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). But Big Oil and Gas, most of which are valued well over the $2 million threshold, received at least $72 million total.

Since when are Big Oil and Gas small businesses?

To reiterate: the PPP was created for small businesses.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the end of April:

Before we forgive these loans, we’ll check every single one over $2 million. So anybody that took the money that shouldn’t have taken the money, one, it won’t be forgiven, and two, they may be subject to criminal liability, which is a big deal.

So the government ought to be more than a little busy auditing and prosecuting Big Oil and Gas, if Mnuchin meant what he said.

At least 16 drillers, fuel transporters, oil technology firms, and service providers tapped the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program… the records show. Most of those borrowers are valued at over $10 million on the stock market.

Possible renewables relief — finally?

Donald Trump has been extremely vocal since 2016 about his support for propping up the dying fossil-fuel industry. Meanwhile, support for the renewables industry has been nonexistent until just a couple days ago, when, as the Washington Post reports:

In a letter sent to senators Thursday, the Treasury Department said it is considering ways to let solar, wind, and other alternative energy developers continue to qualify for tax incentives critical for paying for the building of wind turbines and solar panel arrays — even if construction is put on hold.
‘Projects that have been waylaid by the economic disruptions of this pandemic can now proceed with more certainty,’ said Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), who led a bipartisan group of six senators in asking the department for the relief for renewables.

It’s unsurprising that Grassley, a Republican, led the charge for renewable relief; wind power is now the largest source of electricity in Iowa.

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