Wall Street and some top oil and gas lobbyists expect a fossil fuel bailout in the next coronavirus stimulus package as part of a tradeoff in which renewable energy companies get tax credits, according to an internal Morgan Stanley report obtained by The Young Turks.
Climate-change activists criticized the potential deal, calling it “terrible.”
The report describes and links to audio of an April 22 conference call between Morgan Stanley and Akin Gump, one of the top lobbying firms in Washington. Akin Gump’s team consisted of a lawyer and four lobbyists, two of them former members of Congress, the other two former Republican staffers.
Akin Gump represents numerous oil and gas interests, lobbying-disclosure forms show. In the first quarter of this year, Akin Gump lobbyists received $100,000 from two of the biggest oil companies in the world: ExxonMobil and Chevron.
On the other end of the call were North American oil and gas analysts and a strategist from Morgan Stanley. The $80 billion investment bank has billions invested in fossil fuels and was the top broker of oil industry mergers and acquisitions in 2018 -- $49 billion worth.
During the call, Akin Gump lobbyists laid out what reads like a behind-the-scenes game plan for the fossil fuel industry to pursue in Congress. Morgan Stanley’s internal report summarized a number of paths for “potential…financial support for the [fossil fuel] industry,” referring to “a likelihood” that Congress would authorize a bailout in the form of purchasing oil for the government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
With the Senate back in session, and the House discussing how to resume its legislative work, members in both chambers are already debating billions of dollars of spending in the next stimulus plan, which has come to be known as 4.0. Any bailout would ostensibly be to save jobs, but as TYT previously reported, much of the industry had been focused on reducing headcount even before the pandemic.
One Akin Gump lobbyist explained why the fossil fuel industry failed to get a bailout in the CARES Act coronavirus stimulus package. “It fell apart because there was not a companion benefit for the renewable space of a similar scale,” said Akin Gump Senior Advisor Ryan Thompson, a former aide to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK).
The report says, “Today we hosted a call with members of the law firm Akin, Gump to discuss government support for the US Energy industry in the midst of low prices and Covid-19 demand headwinds. Federal action has been limited thus far, and may continue to be challenged due to lack of bipartisan support.”