Energy Secretary’s Shocking Claim of Energy “Redlining” Belied by History, Facts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After five major banks announced that they would not finance oil and gas leasing and development in the Arctic, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette made the shocking allegation that banks were practicing “redlining,” a historic, racist practice of excluding minority communities from financial support. Brouillette’s comments obfuscate the fact that oil, gas, and mining companies continue to receive significant funding from banks and the federal government. Communities of color would have been lucky to receive such treatment when “redlining” was legal.
“Sec. Brouillette’s attempt to appropriate the historic, government-sanctioned discrimination against black and brown Americans to cry poverty for big oil is deeply concerning. It calls into question his judgment as energy secretary and how seriously he takes the civil rights struggles of millions of Americans,” said Chris Saeger, Accountable.US director of strategic initiatives. “What’s more, his comments are also factually untrue: oil and gas companies continue to receive billions of dollars in government funding during the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when every tax dollar should be supporting small businesses and working families.”
Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo have recently ruled out financing Arctic oil and gas development — but it’s clear that oil and gas still have access to capital. Big banks have continued to lend, despite the high exposure of such lending.
Moreover, over one-third of big oil, mining, and related industries have already been awarded bailouts totaling nearly $3.9 billion through President Trump’s Small Business Administration. In just the first few weeks of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), 11,168 ‘Mining’ corporations that include oil and gas, and related activities received some $3,894,793,207 in bailouts. The federal government also changed their rules about the upcoming Main Street Lending program to create a new pool of funding, just to allow oil corporations in debt access to yet another line of funding. And a stealth bailout slipped into the CARES Act has now allowed big oil to rack up $1.9 billion in tax breaks.