What fossil fuels really did with their bailouts

Our three-part analysis of 2020 annual reports and proxies found that oil, gas and coal companies received billions in bailout benefits, then paid off their shareholders and executives while laying off workers.

oil refinery at night

Fossil fuel companies’ public filings belie the industry’s claims to be an engine of job growth deserving of government support. Their 2020 annual reports and proxy statements tell a starkly different story: Companies sought and received billions in bailout benefits, then used the money to increase shareholder payouts and reward executives lavish pay packages — all while laying off workers.

Read more from BailoutWatch’s exclusive analyses of how oil and gas spent their Covid bailout billions:

1) Slashing Jobs: 77 big fossil fuel firms cut nearly 60,000 jobs in 2020 while pocketing a $8.2 billion tax bailout.

2) Paying Out Shareholders: With oil and gas claiming they get “no special tax treatment,” new data show polluters with the biggest tax bailouts mostly used the money to increase payments to shareholders while eliminating jobs.

3) Rewarding Executives: At a dozen companies where average workers earned less than 1% of the CEO's salary, there were layoffs across the board and the pay gap often widened during the pandemic year.