Workers and Small Businesses Struggle While The Trump Administration Fuels Wealthy Big Oil Corporations

HELENA, MT – New reporting by The Guardian based on research by Accountable.US finds that Big Oil, including wealthy corporations like BP and Exxon, scored additional relief from the Trump administration after the Bureau of Land Management ‘rubber-stamped’ lease suspensions and royalty cuts without considering the corporations need or past record.

These handouts to Big Oil come on top of upwards of $7 billion in Paycheck Protection Program taxpayer-backed relief, billions more in tax breaks, and federal agencies waiving environmental protections that gave many of the same corporations a green light to pollute with impunity.

“Rubber stamping everything that Big Oil and polluting fossil fuel corporations request has become the hallmark of Trump’s corrupt Interior Department,” said Jayson O’Neill, Accountable.US spokesperson. “Because the Trump administration is completely mismanaging the pandemic and economy, the consequences of their unbridled favoritism to Big Oil and the wealthy is having dire impacts on workers and small businesses.”

Despite all the taxpayer-backed handouts from the Trump administration, the sector is announcing massive worker layoffs across the country with more bankruptcies piling up by the day.

In addition to suspending leases, Trump’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) dropped the already low and outdated public land oil and gas royalty rate from 12.5% to 0.5% for many of these Big Oil corporations. Revenue generated from onshore public lands drilling is split with state and local governments impacted by development, and these giveaways have many states like Wyoming reeling. The administration has yet to commit to making state and local governments whole after unilaterally deciding to drop rates to nearly zero.

Onshore revenues are also slated to fund the national park maintenance backlog after the passing of the Great American Outdoors Act. Royalty payments and revenues are plummeting, down some 35% compared to last year according to natural resources revenue data.

Worse, many of these same Big Oil corporations that have been granted additional bailouts from the Trump administration have had a history of dodging royalty payments. In total, Accountable.US found that corporations that had been granted these breaks had some $19 million in fines.

Read the entire research report from Accountable.US: Public Land Oil Drillers with Histories of Dodging Royalty Payments Got Royalty Rate Reductions from the Trump Administration

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