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From the very beginning of this pandemic, we’ve seen corporations and corrupt politicians exploit this health crisis for their own private gain. It’s an all-too-familiar strategy of using a mass crisis as an opportunity for sneaky and selfish profits, all at the expense of people’s lives. It’s infuriating.

This is why, just earlier this week, our Senator Jeff Merkley along with CA Representative Nanette Barragán introduced the REWIND Act. This new legislation would block a bailout for the fossil fuel industry in the next stimulus package and ensure relief money flows directly to people, not polluters.

The legislation stands for “Resources for Workforce Investments, Not Drilling” (REWIND) and would do the following…

  • Put a moratorium on new leasing for oil and gas drilling during the coronavirus state of emergency
  • Ban any CARES Act fund recipients from getting new leases for drilling
  • Keep the fossil fuel industry from getting access to stimulus money through the Federal Reserve or Treasury
  • Ban expansion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and prevent the SPR from leasing space to private oil
  • Ban the ability of bank holding companies to take over distressed oil and gas companies
  • Ban Interior from modifying / loosening any oil, gas, or coal regulations during the state of emergency
  • Ban fossil fuel bailouts under the Defense Production Act
  • Extend all comment periods and ban new non-COVID rulemaking processes, both until at least 30 days past the end of the state of emergency

This is the kind of policy that keeps corrupt politicians in check that we so desperately need right now. Senator Merkley’s REWIND Act has also been co-sponsored by Senator Wyden and Representative Blumenauer. It’s important that they all hear that Oregonians support this legislation and want them to keep fighting hard to see it through. So let’s all send a quick message to Senators Merkley and Wyden and Representative Blumenauer thanking them for the REWIND Act, to encourage them to keep fighting for people, not polluters!

What about the rest of Oregon’s Congressional Delegation? No one else from Oregon has co-sponsored the REWIND Act, which means they’d rather see profits continue to be handed under the table to fossil fuel corporations? We won’t stand for that. Join us in writing to Representatives Bonamici, DeFazio, and Schrader (especially if you live in District 1, 4, or 5!) to demand that they co-sponsor and support the crucial REWIND Act. 

The REWIND Act comes after 350PDX and over 300 other organizations from across the country sent a letter to Congress demanding that politicians: put healthcare workers and all people on the frontlines of COVID-19 first in the emergency response; ensure that federal assistance support people and not the fossil fuel industry; ensure that recovery funds provide a just transition for fossil fuels workers and communities economically dependent on declining fossil fuel production; and conduct a thorough and conscientious oversight of the Trump Administration and financial sector.

This is another example of how our organizing works and can make a real, tangible impact. 350PDX will continue to keep fighting to make sure this crisis doesn’t become an opportunity for corporate industry handouts, but rather real, genuine support for people who need it most.

Instead of giving handouts to the fossil fuel industry, the government should be investing in a sustainable future with green priorities to make our communities stronger, safer, and more resilient. Workers and communities dependent on the fossil fuel industry also deserve direct support, not a vague promise that money will ‘trickle down’ through notoriously corrupt corporations.

Passing the REWIND Act as part of the next stimulus package would ensure COVID recovery efforts go directly to people and not polluters. It’s imperative that we make our voices heard throughout this process. Will you join me in thanking those who’ve supported this important policy, and pressuring those who haven’t yet co-sponsored it?