In the middle of a pandemic like coronavirus, people need a government that will step up to protect everyday Americans, especially those on the frontlines. Instead, Republicans tried to use coronavirus as an excuse to spend billions of taxpayers’ dollars to bail out the industries that are destroying our planet.
In the same speech where he declared coronavirus a national emergency, Trump committed to purchase enough oil to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve “right up to the top.” After Trump made it crystal clear that he cared more about Big Oil profits than protecting Americans, polluting industries lined up to lobby for government bailouts.
To name a few, the oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, agribusiness and cruise industries all sought taxpayer dollars under the guise of coronavirus relief — despite many of those industries having lobbied for the same federal aid before coronavirus.
While Republicans were trying to exploit a crisis, Friends of the Earth members stepped up to call on Congress to protect people, not polluters. In just under two weeks, more than 106,000 members sent messages to their senators — and they listened!
Thanks to the voices of grassroots activists, Senate Democratic leaders were able to stop Republicans from giving any direct aid to polluting industries in the stimulus package — and they were able to stop the cruise industry from being eligible for any bailout. After failing to get funding from Congress, the Department of Energy quietly abandoned its plan to buy $3 billion worth of oil to fill up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Our members were able to stop Republicans from handing out taxpayer dollars to the industries that are destroying our environment and driving climate change.
While this is a massive win, this administration is still bending over backwards to find new ways to throw money at corporations that need it the least. Between Mitch McConnell’s unchecked $500 billion corporate slush fund and attempts to let companies like Exxon and BP pillage our lands and waters for free, this fight is far from over — and we need you to keep speaking up to stop it.