Republican Senators Want Coronavirus Money to Bail Out Fossil Fuels
Updated: May 20
By Austen Last month's coronavirus response bill, the CARES Act, has received no shortage of criticism for the bulk of its two trillion dollar stimulus going towards bailing out corporations and treating the millions of suddenly unemployed human beings as an afterthought. But there's a second battle taking place behind the scenes—how that money gets spent. 17 Republican Senators want to make sure fossil fuel companies get a piece of that bailout money. $454 billion dollars from the CARES act has been set aside for a corporate loan program, which includes purchasing bonds that would otherwise bust. That section of the program is administered by BlackRock, one of the most gargantuan financial firms in the world. Earlier this year, BlackRock announced that they were moving away from fossil fuels, explicitly citing climate change. Many top financial advisors have decided it's time for finance to start moving on to better investments. Given how carbon emissions severely increase the destructive power of ecological disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, there's probably more money to be made in a world without fossil fuels.
That isn't good enough for the Republican Senators who wrote a letter to the Chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, urging him to insist BlackRock distribute money "without regard to this or other investment policies [it] has adopted for its own funds". Earlier this month, seven fossil fuel executives met in person with the president to push for opening up of public lands when the world isn't looking, in addition to lobbying for economic support. So what can we do? Our actions may be limited, but we can still tell the Fed to let fossil fuel companies take care of their own problems, instead of bailing them out with public money. Mail your thoughts to: Jerome Powell, Chair Board of Governors of Federal Reserve System 20th St. & Constitution Ave NW Washington DC 20551 The fact that this is even a conversation means we're winning. BlackRock knows fossil fuels are a dead end. The rest of the business world is catching on too.