Washington (April 23, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) today called on the Federal Reserve not to acquiesce to the fossil fuel industry’s pleas to change the Main Street Lending Program, which is designed to provide loans to small- and medium-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Fossil fuel companies have asked that the Federal Reserve change the terms of this lending program to allow its loans to be used to pay off pre-existing debts, and to allow those repayments to take place before paying back the Federal Reserve. The fossil fuel industry has been taking on massive amounts of debt for years, driving away other major financial institutional backers and underperforming in the stock market. The industry also contributes to the expensive and existential global threat of climate change, another factor that underpins the lawmakers’ opposition to efforts to change the loan program.
“During the federal response to this unprecedented crisis, we urge you to deploy the Federal Reserve’s resources in a way that protects taxpayer interests and avoids the bailout of an industry that has been struggling under its own short-sighted financial decisions for years,” write the lawmakers in their letter. “We must protect workers and communities affected by the oversupply of fossil fuels and the resulting downturn in oil and gas prices, but we can do that without carving out special rules for loans to fossil fuel corporations. We strongly urge you to resist the fossil fuel industry’s calls for privileged treatment and maintain the existing terms of the Main Street Lending Program.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Last week Rep. Barragán, Senator Markey, and 39 of their House and Senate colleagues sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve System Chair Jerome Powell expressing their opposition to requests from the oil industry and coal industry to secure a bailout using financial resources from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.