Trump Admin’s Obsession With Fossil Fuel Industry Exemplified In New PPP Data

Helena, MT – Today, after reporting last week in The Guardian revealed that some 5,600 Big Oil and fossil fuel industry companies had reeled in between $3 and $6.7 billion in Payroll Protection Program (PPP) monies meant for small businesses, Accountable.US found that only 239 wind and solar companies received a maximum of $188 million in PPP funds.

“The Trump administration’s love affair with Big Oil is not only undermining a growing, more sustainable sector of our economy, but it’s also wasting taxpayer money on a polluting industry that was financially unsound long before the pandemic,” said Jayson O’Neill, Accountable.US spokesperson. “We don’t expect many, if any, of these polluting corporations to pay taxpayers back.”

According to the recently released PPP data, between $85 and $188 million went to only 239 renewable wind and solar companies.* The renewable energy sector has been hit hard by the economic downturn, shedding some 600,000 jobs since March but the forgivable PPP loans only helped retain 8,112 jobs according to the report.

While oil prices have rebounded from historic lows, many oil and gas, coal, and other extractive industry companies were in deep financial trouble well before the pandemic. Despite being rewarded by the Trump administration with taxpayer-funded PPP monies, tax breaks, and royalty rate cuts and lease suspensions, some of the biggest names in the industry are still going bankrupt. Oil worker jobs have also fared far better as a result of the Trump administration’s unwavering support.

Unfortunately, a new Bloomberg analysis found that the data was riddled with errors. Outside of an investigation into the Trump administration’s handling of the funds, taxpayers may never see a full accounting of how hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer-backed PPP funds were spent.

*NAICS code for solar (221114) and wind (221115)

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