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“The Oil Lobby’s COVID-19 Wish List”

“The American Petroleum Institute sent Trump’s Interior Department a lengthy list of demands in March to help it weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“As the coronavirus pandemic upended the U.S. economy, the head of the oil and gas sector’s leading trade association declared that fossil fuel companies weren’t looking for government handouts to stay afloat.

“This is an industry that believes in the free market, it believes in supply and demand as the best arbiter of price,” Mike Sommers, CEO and president of the American Petroleum Institute, told Yahoo Finance in an April 23 interview. “So we’re not asking for any extra help from the federal government. We’re not interested in any bailouts.”

But API had already sent a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former fossil fuel lobbyist, a month earlier, outlining two dozen temporary actions it wanted the Interior Department to take to help the industry through the pandemic. These included waiving “non-essential compliance obligations,” conducting remote site inspections and delaying penalties for failing to meet enforcement deadlines.

The corporate watchdog group Documented obtained API’s March 25 wish list for the Interior Department through a public records request and shared it exclusively with HuffPost.”

Chris D’Angelo and Alexander C. Kaufman report for HuffPost October 22, 2020.