Coronavirus Relief Package Comes with Good and Bad for the Energy Industry

Coronavirus Relief Package Comes with Good and Bad for the Energy Industry

March 25, 2020

Early this morning, senators finally reached a bipartisan deal for an emergency coronavirus relief package that totals nearly $2 trillion. This much-needed legislation comes after five days of tense negotiations, and the final bill includes both good and bad news for the energy industry.

The natural gas and oil industry has been a staple of the U.S. economy for years, generating billions in revenue and supporting millions of American jobs. The industry has even been hugely beneficial geopolitically, as our newfound energy independence has given America more leverage at the international trade table. But, now that this industry needs support during the coronavirus’ economic fallout, Democrats aren’t willing to help.

President Trump and Senate Republicans fought to include support for the natural gas and oil industry in the stimulus package. Specifically, they have sought to include $3 billion for the Energy Department to fill up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – a supply of petroleum held by the department for emergency fuel. This is especially important to do amid the current price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has tangled oil markets and cut prices to historic lows. The final legislation does not include this support after Democrats not only refused to support this vital and struggling industry, but proposed renewable energy tax credits.

Politico reports:

“Every single American outside of Washington knows this is no time for this nonsense,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor Monday, accusing Democrats of playing politics by seeking aid for renewable developers and demanding that airlines agree to cut their carbon emissions in exchange for federal aid.

These irrelevant proposals by Democrats stalled emergency relief that Americans and businesses desperately need by a full day. But, fortunately, the final version of the Phase Three package didn’t include the Democrats’ proposals to hamper the natural gas and oil industry either. Discussions of a Phase Four package are expected to start as early as later this week, and they’re likely to include further debate around the energy industry. This time, hopefully lawmakers unite behind the industry that has always done so much to support us.