Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Seth Gladstone,, 917.363.6615

Press Release

Major National Environmental Group Calls for Public Ownership of Fossil Fuel Companies Amid Global Crisis

Food & Water Action Demands Federal Control of the Struggling, Polluting Industry

As the fossil fuel industry seeks a massive government bailout amid the global financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Food & Water Action is explicitly calling for the federal government to take a controlling stake in corporate fossil fuel extraction, production and infrastructure interests. This move is an important step in protecting the jobs of tens of thousands of workers across the country as part of a managed transition to a new green economy.

Public ownership of the industry will give American taxpayers greater control over the short- and mid-term financial restructuring of these giant corporations, and would prevent the fleecing of federal coffers to enrich fossil fuel executives and mega-wealthy private shareholders at the expense of everyday Americans.

Critically, federal control of these corporations will protect workers in the fossil fuel industry and provide tens of thousands of new jobs that would not be subject to the whims of Wall Street speculators, self-interested CEOs or volatile shifts in global commodity prices.

“It’s time to take bold action to rescue the American economy and set an unstable, polluting industry on the path to saving jobs,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Action. “Public ownership of the oil and gas industry will help secure the health, safety and employment of people across the country, while ensuring an energy transition that prioritizes clean, safe food and water and a livable planet for all.”

As new green jobs are created, government control of these corporations would also allow for a halt to new fossil fuel drilling, fracking and infrastructure development (which are unnecessary and fiscally irresponsible), and the decommissioning of existing fossil fuel infrastructure to ensure the complete transition to clean, renewable energy sources. These steps will both help steer the country through the current public health crisis and avoid the worst effects of the deepening climate crisis.

In this period of greatly reduced market value of fossil fuel companies, a controlling government stake in these interests will be a great value for American taxpayers. The inclusion of this investment in a much broader federal response to the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus epidemic would be a wise strategic and fiscal decision for the short- and long-term interests of the federal government and the country.


Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

NYC Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams Rebuked for 'Dangerous' 400-Students-to-1-Teacher Theory

"Defunding schools to the point that we have a 400:1 student-to-teacher ratio so we can bankroll another huge expansion in an already-multibillion dollar police budget," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, "is how you build a school-to-prison pipeline."

Jon Queally, staff writer ·

Lack of Patent Waiver Would Add Over $70 Billion to Cost of Vaccinating World: Oxfam

Most of that money, said a spokesperson for the group, "will go directly into the pockets" of Big Pharma shareholders.

Jon Queally, staff writer ·

Darnella Frazier Receives Pulitzer Special Citation 'for Courageously Recording the Murder of George Floyd'

"Without Darnella, Derek Chauvin never would have been tried and George Floyd would have been blamed by the state for his own death."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

'We Are Sounding the Alarm': Global Left Warns Right-Wing Fujimori Trying to Steal Election in Peru

"Fujimori’s only way forward to victory is simple: annul tens of thousands of already tallied votes," warned Progressive International. "Powerful forces are organizing to deliver this outcome."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·

'Climate Denial Masquerading as Bipartisanship': Progressives Reject Latest Infrastructure Compromise

"Refusing to act on climate means selling out future generations. The future of our planet and the health of our communities are non-negotiable."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·