Fringe Democrats Want To Cut Off Support To Oil And Gas Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic

The federal government has acted swiftly to provide economic support to American workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but a small, fringe group of congressional Democrats is arguing against the bipartisan support of the energy industry and its employees. In a recent letter, these lawmakers are clearly putting the demands of “Keep It In the Ground” activists above the needs of blue collar workers. It’s no surprise some of those activists were quoted in a news release touting the letter from Sen. Ed Markey.

States around the country, led by both Democrats and Republicans, have declared oil and natural gas operations are “essential” or “critical” business activities – a sharp contrast to the view expressed in the letter, showing just how out-of-touch these politicians really are. As The Hill reports:

“More than 40 Democratic lawmakers are arguing that fossil fuel companies should not be able to receive any assistance under the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress last month.

“In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell, lawmakers say the $2 trillion deal was ‘intended to support struggling families, workers, businesses, states, and municipalities. … Giving that money to the fossil fuel industry will do nothing to stop the spread of the deadly virus or provide relief to those in need.’”

It seems these Democrats don’t believe that “struggling families, workers, and businesses,” include oil and natural gas workers and operators, yet we know that’s the case.

The entire energy industry is struggling because the public health measures taken to combat COVID-19 have caused a massive drop off in demand – people are driving and flying much less – along with a sharp decline in consumer purchasing and industrial output.

Now, the oil and natural gas industry has not asked for a “corporate bailout,” as Sen. Markey and the other letter signers call it, but the reality is that if operators, especially smaller independents, can’t access the loans that every other company can, they may be forced into layoffs, reduced operations, or possible bankruptcy. That would be devastating to the millions of workers who work hard every day to produce the energy we all use.

Energy Workers Deemed “Essential”

Fossil fuel companies and the workers they employ form a key cornerstone of our economy. They provide the energy we all use for our homes, transportation, and industrial output.

It’s why most states have deemed these workers as “critical,” “essential,” or “life-sustaining” and we absolutely need them on the job every day to keep the lights on.

If Democratic and Republicans governors across the nation are declaring oil and natural gas workers as “essential” to the economy and in turn, these workers are risking their health to produce energy, then why are these lawmakers working to deny them the support they need?

“Just Transition” Calls Are Empty Rhetoric

Numerous environmental activist groups and political leaders pushing for zero-carbon and other renewables-based energy plans have called for a “just transition” for fossil fuel workers – to provide these workers with job-training and other support to “transition” to different industries without experiencing a loss of income or employment.

But this call to ban the industry from receiving federal support would result in immediate financial hardship for these workers if they’re laid off or their companies go bankrupt.

It only shows the “just transition” calls are empty rhetoric. These lawmakers don’t actually care about these workers and their livelihoods. They’re only focused on destroying an industry they don’t like, as was evidenced on Twitter yesterday by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who interestingly did not sign the letter).

Oil & Natural Gas Industry Supports the Economy

While the fringe lawmakers work to block financial assistance to essential workers and businesses, and environmental activist groups continue to take advantage of COVID-19 to push their agenda forward, the oil and natural gas industry is stepping up to help communities affected by the pandemic.

Across the country, companies and trade associations have donated the personal protective equipment that healthcare workers rely on, given millions of dollars to charities and non-profits, and supported students with educational resources while classes are cancelled.

When it comes to supporting workers and their communities, it’s clear where the oil and natural gas industry stands. The question is, given their letter seeking to single out some they see as less worthy, where do these elected officials stand?

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