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Senators Use Crisis to Prop Up Big Oil

Statement of Alan Zibel, Corporate Presidency Project Research Director, Public Citizen

Note: Twelve U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday urged U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to “reduce, delay or suspend” federal royalty payments for oil, gas and coal. A recent report by Public Citizen and Documented Investigations found that two top Interior officials held 12 times as many meetings with executives from the oil, gas, electricity, coal and mining industries as with conservation and renewable energy interests.

With demand for oil plunging and prices sinking to levels not seen in decades, the last thing we should do is prop up dirty energy companies by reducing the royalties they pay to access public lands and waters. We should be using this crisis to pivot to clean, renewable energy, rather than aiding polluters that put the climate and our environment at risk. However, given the utter capture of the Interior Department by corporate interests, it should surprise no one if Interior Secretary David Bernhardt grants the industry’s wishes.