Fossil Fuel Could Reap Billions from Bond Buyback Program

by | Jun 16, 2020

The energy sector makes up just under 10% of the corporate debt that the Federal Reserve plans to buy through the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF), per its June index. The Fed believes the program (which expanded in early April to include the purchase of more bonds, and more lower-rated bonds) will help corporations get credit amid the pandemic-driven recession, because it assures banks that the federal government will bail firms out by buying up their debt. Companies that stand to benefit currently include BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Valero, and Marathon Oil, as well as pipeline giants Energy Transfer, Dominion Energy, and Kinder Morgan. Up to 90 fossil fuel firms are eligible according to a Rainforest Action Network analysis, The Guardian reported in May, while a different study by economists and Oxford University “found that putting public money into a green recovery would produce higher economic returns.” Status: The SMCCF issued its latest “terms and conditions” for eligible debt buybacks on June 15, 2020

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Amy Westervelt is the editor-in-chief of Drilled News, creator and host of the Drilled podcast, and founder of the Critical Frequency podcast network, named AdWeek's Podcast Network of the Year in 2019. An award-winning print and audio journalist, Amy has contributed to The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, as well as KQED, The California Report, Capital Public Radio, and many other outlets. She is the 2015 winner of the Rachel Carson award for "women greening journalism," and a 2016 winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. In 2019, the Drilled podcast won the Online News Association's "Excellence in Audio Storytelling" award.

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Emily J. Gertz is senior editor of Drilled News. A longtime environmental reporter and editor, her work has appeared in HuffPost, Reveal, Arctic Today, The Guardian, Popular Science, Scientific American, Sierra, and more.