Tell the Fed:
Invest in People, Not Polluters
The fossil fuel industry is the last thing we should be investing in right now. Their pollution is endangering public health, especially in communities of color. They’re constantly lobbying the Trump Administration for handouts. And they’re making the climate crisis worse.
We can’t afford to let the Fed use our public dollars to give massive handouts to failing fossil fuel companies — especially when so many small businesses, families, and communities are struggling to survive.
These Fed programs have just begun to operate. Hundreds of billions more dollars are still waiting to be distributed. If we don’t act now, a lot of that money could go to the fossil fuel industry instead of people in need.
Dear Chair Powell and Federal Reserve Governors,
The coronavirus has devastated our economy. Over 40 million Americans are out of work. Thousands of small businesses are going bankrupt. This pain is especially acute in Black communities and other communities of color. This is on top of the unquantifiable pain of losing over 130,000 lives to the virus.
Meanwhile, another crisis is only growing worse: the climate crisis. Temperatures above the Arctic Circle recently hit 100°F for the first time in recorded history. Wildfires are beginning to break out across the United States, a threat that will make combatting the coronavirus even more difficult. Scientists and economists continue to sound alarms about the threat global warming poses to our country and economy.
Instead of addressing these dual crises, the Fed’s current lending program risks making them both worse by funneling billions of dollars to the fossil fuel industry.
According to a report by Influence Map, from the initial purchase of $1.3 billion of ETFs in the secondary market corporate debt program, around 8% went to fossil fuel companies― even though the oil, gas and coal sector comprises just 3% of the overall market. At this rate, a full $19 billion of the $250 billion authorized by Congress for bond purchases could go to fossil fuels.
This is on top of the estimated $3.9 billion the industry has received from the Paycheck Protection Program and at least $1.9 billion in tax credits it has received from the CARES Act.
With the Trump Administration’s Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette boasting on live TV that he and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin convinced the Fed to change its lending programs to benefit oil and gas companies, we are naturally worried that the Fed, an agency that is supposed to be above politics, is bending to political influence and preparing to shovel billions more to the fossil fuel industry.
Every one of these dollars is an investment in more pollution that harms our health and climate. A recent Harvard Study concluded that people living in polluted areas who catch the coronavirus were 8% more likely to die from the virus than those in non polluted areas. Meanwhile, the burning of fossil fuels continues to destabilize our climate, and our economy and society with it.
We are calling on the Federal Reserve to restructure its programs so that no money ends up going to coal, oil and gas companies that are endangering our health and climate. The Federal Reserve has ignored the risks of investing in fossil fuels for too long. We cannot afford for this recovery to continue to prioritize the needs of people over polluters.