Chevron reps say green policies hurt minority communities, watchdogs fear Fed bailouts exclude small businesses, and other news from around the web

Daily news headlines about the stimulus and recovery from June 19, 2020.

Chevron appears behind argument that green policies 'hurt minority communities'

It was an audacious messaging campaign: White environmentalists are hurting black communities by pushing radical climate policies that would strip them of fossil fuel jobs.

The email to journalists, sent by a public affairs firm at the height of national protests over systemic racism earlier this month, accidentally contained the name of a high-profile client.

It was Chevron Corp.

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Congressional watchdog: Fed's bond-buying helps big firms, but may leave small businesses behind

Pandemic relief efforts by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve boosted the corporate bond market, but may be falling short in helping small business and state and local governments get access to loans, according to a report from a bipartisan congressional watchdog.

The Fed’s announcement in March that it would buy corporate bonds was enough to rally credit markets, with many large companies endangered by the pandemic finding enough cash in capital markets to cushion the blow.

Yet several of the lending facilities that are aimed to help smaller businesses aren’t fully in operation, a report released Thursday by the Congressional Oversight Commission found, and only one state has received a loan.

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Watchdogs, White House at odds over scrutiny of pandemic aid

When Congress approved $2 trillion pandemic aid in March, many Democratic and Republican lawmakers agreed on safeguards against fraud and abuse to ensure that companies receiving the money use it to save American jobs.

But the Trump administration has advised agencies that they can largely ignore reporting requirements in the legislation designed to help a newly created watchdog group track how the money is spent.

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Interior lowers bar for oil and gas firms seeking reduced fees to use public land

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has changed its guidance for companies that want to see their royalty payments for oil and gas leases reduced, lessening the requirements for what companies need to prove in order to get the rate cuts. 

The bureau’s prior guidance, issued in April, stated that companies applying for royalty relief on leased federal lands had to show that leases are “uneconomic at the current royalty rate, but would be economic with a royalty rate reduction.”

The new guidance, however, requires only that the leases are “uneconomic at the current royalty rate.”

Democrats, in a letter to the Interior Department, which oversees the bureau, argue that this change puts the bureau in violation of the Mineral Leasing Act, which gives the department the authority to grant royalty relief if applicants show “that a reduction of that rate is necessary to promote development of the lease.”

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House Democrats' new stimulus plan includes $70B for clean energy projects

House Democrats unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan Thursday that calls for a huge increase in funding to repair roads and bridges while expanding broadband access in rural areas.

Democrats described the bill as the biggest legislative effort to fight climate change, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying the package would “make real the promise of building infrastructure in a green and resilient way.”

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Muddled message on stimulus from Trump team

Last Friday, senior White House official Peter Navarro said in a mostly overlooked television interview that President Trump wanted the next congressional stimulus package to cost more than $2 trillion and include big measures designed to boost domestic manufacturing.

It appeared to be a sharp departure from what other White House officials were considering, and as word got around during the weekend, congressional Republicans and other Trump administration officials tried to brush the Fox Business appearance aside.

The White House has not reached a final decision on whether it supports an infrastructure package; aid to state and local governments; another round of $1,200 stimulus checks; delaying the tax filing deadline beyond July 15; and a fix to the coming expiration of additional unemployment benefits, among other issues.

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Intl Energy Agency's sustainable recovery plan would keep global emissions below 2019 peak

The world has a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to pour investment into clean energy and create millions of new jobs, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Its “sustainable recovery plan” for the coronavirus pandemic lays out a series of measures that the agency says would ensure 2019 was the “definitive peak” for global emissions.

Launched in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the new report presents a strategy for economic growth that includes mass home renovations, fossil-fuel subsidy reforms, renewables and the expansion of power grids.

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