Republican Senators Back Stimulus Loans for Oil, Gas Firms

Republican Senators Back Stimulus Loans for Oil, Gas Firms A group of 11 Senate Republicans led by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) have urged the Trump administration to change credit rating requirements under the federal stimulus loan program, so that more oil and gas firms will be eligible to apply. In their April 21 letter, addressed to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, the lawmakers argue that many firms were already struggling due to the recent OPEC production and pricing war; and have now been hit by the pandemic’s effect as well “Assisting these companies could be the difference between maintaining our domestic energy production and workforce or shedding more U.S. jobs and returning to dependence on foreign sources of oil,” according to the senators, “and we should do all we can to avoid it.” Status: On April 30, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced revisions to the rules for the Main Street Lending Program that allow oil companies to borrow money under the program and apply it to past debts. On May 12, 2020, Bloomberg Law reported that Secretary Mnuchin and the Federal Reserve announced further modifications to the Main Street Lending Program, expanding it to make mid-size companies eligible. This change may allow several additional independent oil and gas companies, such as Occidental Petroleum, to get loans through the program.

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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.