A few weeks ago, thousands of us took action to tell congress to prioritize people, not polluters in the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27. Now, a new version is under debate in Congress, and the fossil fuel industry is working overtime to make sure they profit during this moment of crisis and pandemic.
They’ve lobbied the EPA to drop all pollution controls. Pushed forward pipelines like Keystone XL. The coal industry event tried to get out of providing healthcare for sick workers. Now, fossil fuel companies are lobbying to get a huge chunk of the bailout funds that are meant to go to small businesses across the United States.
So far we’ve signed on to Five Principles for Just Covid-19 Relief and Stimulus, and backed the big, multi-movement call for a “people’s bailout.” Now, we’re adding 4 clear demands to our action, to make sure Congress hears us:
- Put Health Care Workers and All People on the Frontlines of COVID-19 First in the Emergency Response.
- Federal Assistance Must Support People, Not The Fossil Fuel Industry.
- Recovery Funds Should Provide a Just Transition for Fossil Fuel Workers and Communities Economically Dependent on Declining Fossil Fuel Production.
- Congress Must Conduct Exhaustive Oversight of the Trump Administration and Financial Sector.
But Trump and his dirty friends in the fossil fuel industry are hard at it as well. They’re lobbying to open up the $500 billion Trump Slush Fund to fossil fuels and use billions in taxpayer money to purchase oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, even though we’re already facing an oversupply.
Trump and co aren’t trying to help workers in the fossil fuel industry, or keep people save during the pandemic. If they were, they’d be supporting universal healthcare, direct relief to working families, and personal protective equipment for all workers. No, this is all about using the cover of the crisis to make a buck, and push through dirty projects that we’d never allow in normal times.
Luckily, there are some climate champions in the House and Senate who are fighting back against these polluter handouts. We’ve told you previously about Senator Sanders, Warren, and others who are putting forward real solutions that protect people and communities.
Add to those leaders, great House Representatives like Rep. Omar who has been fighting to keep post offices open and expand access to basic banking services, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez who introduced a ban on fracking with Sen. Sanders just before the pandemic and continues to push for Green New Deal, and Rep Raskin who drafted a letter calling for a halt to pipeline construction during the pandemic.
And add to the urgency of our work that new research from Harvard university shows that an increase of only one microgram per cubic meter of fine particulate pollution leads to a 15% rise in deaths from COVID-19.
With more than 16 million people out of work, and pollution making people more sick, and more likely to get sick, this is no time to give a bailout to the fossil fuel industry. If we speak together now, and generate a big public outcry, we can make sure that big polluters aren’t allowed to profit off this pandemic.
Together, we can ensure that we have a just and sustainable recovery to COVID-19. Sign now to demand Congress adopt our 4 demands for a just recovery that helps strengthen our communities and protect our climate.