Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 26, 2020


Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121,

Senate Republicans Bail Out Major Fossil Fuel Polluters

WASHINGTON— The Senate voted tonight to pass a $2 trillion stimulus package that aims to combat the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The package includes over $400 billion in funding for “distressed sectors” of the economy including oil, gas and coal companies and commercial airlines despite pleas to hold those industries accountable for their reckless behavior.

“While the fossil fuel industry didn’t get a few handouts it wanted, Republicans granted the wish of the airlines and oil companies to get massive public financing without curbing the damage they’re doing to our planet,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We will use every tool to force Secretary Mnuchin and the Trump administration to publicly reveal every shady deal they make to bail out climate-killing companies.”

In the lead-up to the vote, hundreds of climate, environmental, social-justice and workers’ rights groups urged Congress to provide urgent relief to struggling families, including a nationwide moratorium on utilities’ shut-offs of essential power and water services.

“Republicans turned a deaf ear to the people who are losing their jobs, having their basic power and water services shut off, and getting evicted. All they heard was the crocodile tears of industry,” said Hartl.

Hundreds of groups also asked Congress to condition any loans to the aviation sector on mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases and protections for impacted workers. The airline industry accounts for 12% of all U.S. transportation CO2 emissions and 2.4% of CO2 emissions around the globe, and is expected to grow in the coming decades. The final compromise legislation does not require any restrictions on aviation emissions.

“Republicans held the nation and the climate hostage by intransigently demanding this corporate slush fund,” said Hartl. “Aviation industry executives should be ashamed they were complicit in this monstrous display of disaster capitalism.”

In spite of the windfall handed to the world’s dirtiest industries, Republicans blocked any investment in clean energy needed to vitalize the future green economy. While Democrats succeeded in blocking $3 billion to purchase oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Democrats lost proposed tax credits for clean energy like wind and solar.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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