Colorado's Rep. Tipton wants to help small oil companies survive the pandemic

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The coronavirus put the brakes on travel on the roads and in the air.

The Administration is working on a plan to use the Main Street Lending program to help mid-size oil companies survive the pandemic. (Source: Gray DC)

That, combined with a surplus of oil in the U-S, Russia and Saudi Arabia sent prices tumbling to record lows last month. The coronavirus is affecting many companies, including the oil industry.

The Administration says it has plans to help medium-sized oil and gas companies, but the plan will not help all companies struggling under the crisis.

“The fact that the storage facilities are filling up at such a rapid clip is something that’s leading to these extraordinary events,” said Dan Brouillette, the Secretary of Energy.

Brouillette and other members of President Trump’s Administration said the Main Street Lending program, a part of the federal coronavirus relief package, can give a boost to oil and gas companies with more than 1 thousand employees.

“They have the most severe, the most acute financial crunch that they’re facing,” said Brouillette.

One Colorado lawmaker wants to make sure small companies in the Western Slope can get the financial boost they need. Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) says many companies are being left out.

“We’re seeing a lot of our small producers now struggling to stay afloat…creating those jobs in rural Colorado is incredibly important,” said Tipton.

In a May 11 letter, Tipton and other House lawmakers asked the Administration to include smaller companies in the program too, quote “without discriminating by industry”.

Climate activist and author Larry Schweiger says any type of financial aid is just subsidizing a dying industry. He says the money should instead be spent to train oil industry employees to work in renewable energy fields.

“It’s time for America to move in a new direction,” said Schweiger.

Tipton has since told me the ongoing negotiations with the Administration are going well and he is hopeful they will listen to the concerns.

We reached out to the Department of Energy about the letter. At this time, they have no response.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the lending program for medium-sized businesses will launch by June 1.

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