U.S. Representative Liz Cheney along with 59 of her congressional colleagues is calling for energy producers to be considered under the Main Street Lending Program.
“As you may be aware, the United States leads the world in oil and natural gas production. However, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has greatly affected our economy as businesses across America have been forced to shut down or limit operations. The oil and gas industry is no exception,” the representatives wrote in the letter. “Global oil prices have declined nearly 60 percent since January 2020.”
The Congress members noted that oil prices tanked to $-37 in April.
To add insult to injury, Wyoming’s coal industry has been fraught with declining demand and layoffs. Hundreds of employees have been laid off or furloughed this year in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
“(W)e respectfully request that the Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve resit calls to limit industry or company eligibility with regards to accessing the Main Street Lending Program. The intent of Congress is clear, through the CARES Act, that the creation and implementation of this new program should encompass small and medium sized businesses without discriminating by industry,” the letter states. “The Main Street Lending Program is not constructed as a bailout, but rather geared to provide liquidity to companies through federally guaranteed lending.
“These companies were in good standing before the pandemic hit and now find themselves in this unique and unprecedented time, with little access to capital.”
According to the letter, America’s oil and natural gas industry is responsible for 10.3 million jobs in the U.S. and nearly 8% of the country’s GDP.