Federal legislators have introduced a bill — supported by hundreds of environmental and social-justice organizations — that would block the fossil-fuel-industry from diverting relief funds from people and communities to shore up their dying industry.
The bill would also direct recovery funds to providing a just transition for fossil fuels workers and communities economically dependent on declining fossil fuel production
The Resources for Workforce Investments, Not Drilling Act (ReWIND Act) was introduced by Congressmembers Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA), Pramila Jayapal (WA), Ilhan Omar (MN), Jared Huffman (CA) and Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Bernie Sanders (VT), and Ed Markey (MA).
The ReWIND Act:
- Precludes loans, loan guarantees and other financial instruments from the Main Street Lending Programs of the CARES Act from going to fossil fuel companies;
- Puts a two-year prohibition on banks and other solvent financial institutions who avail themselves of Title IV CARES Act provisions such as debt guarantees, additional borrowing authority or loans or loan guarantees from operating, or making new equity investments in fossil fuel companies.
- Puts a moratorium on new federal fossil fuel leases until after the COVID-19 National Emergency is over.
- Caps the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) at its current physical limit of 713,500,000 barrels and reiterates that private oil cannot be stored in the SPR.
- Repeals the statutory authority for Department of the Interior to institute a royalty-in kind program that would accept oil and natural gas from producers in lieu of cash royalties. The royalty-in-kind program was shuttered in 2009 after it was ensnared in a wide-ranging ethics scandal.
- Takes away the authority under to use title III of the Defense Production Act to provide loans or loan guarantees to fossil fuel companies.
- Repeals the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to lower royalty rates for fossil fuel leases on federal lands and waters.
- Eliminates the authority of the Secretary to eliminate or reduce royalty rates for Deep Water leases on the Outer Continental shelf. This cleans up the existing code, as this authority had expired.
- Ensures that the public can participate in rulemakings by extending public comment periods that were already under way until after the COVID-19 national emergency is over. It also suspends new rulemakings that are not specifically in response to the COVID-19 crisis, until after the national emergency is over.
A fact sheet is available here.
Join the Climate Justice Alliance, 350 Action, the Sunrise Movement, the Sierra Club, and many other climate justice organizations to support this bill.
US Reps Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, and Ro Khanna, and Sen. Kamala Harris, are cosponsors. Email Senator Dianne Feinstein and tell her to join them! Use this suggested text or write your own:
Dear Senator Feinstein:
I am writing to you today to ask you to co-sponsor the “Resources for Workforce Investments, Not Drilling” (REWIND Act) led by Sen. Merkley and Rep. Barragan. The REWIND Act stops vital investments from going to the fossil fuel industry and ensures that people and communities will be prioritized over polluters. The REWIND Act would do the following:
- Keep the oil, gas and coal industry from getting access to stimulus money through the Federal Reserve or Treasury.
- Ban expansion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and prevent the SPR from leasing space to private oil.
- Make discretionary royalty relief illegal.
- Ban ability of bank holding companies to take over distressed oil and gas companies.
- Ban any CARES Act fund recipients from getting new leases.
- Ban Interior from modifying/loosening any oil, gas, or coal regulations during the state of emergency.
- Ban fossil fuel bailouts under the Defense Production Act.
- Extend all comment periods and ban new non-COVID rulemaking processes, both until at least 30 days past the end of the state of emergency.
Please co-sponsor the REWIND Act today.