The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jayson O’Neill (406) 200-8582

Trump's Corrupt Interior Department Rewards Powerful Big Oil Lobby Group's Wishes

The American Petroleum Institute Sent Wishlist of Favors to Former Oil Lobbyist Secretary Bernhardt.


In a breaking story today, the HuffPost released a wish list a Big Oil lobby group had sent to Trump's Interior Department. The American Petroleum Institute (API) sent a letter to Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Bernhardt asking for taxpayer-backed bailouts and a smorgasbord of other requests. Secretary Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist whose powerful lobbying firm represents API, has already granted some of the group's requests while the status of other requests is still unknown due to the Trump administration's lack of transparency.

Officials at Trump's Environmental Protection Agency made headlines after granting the API's request to suspend all environmental enforcement under the cover of COVID-19.
"Time and time again, President Trump has prioritized corporate welfare for the polluting fossil fuel industry over the 100,000 small businesses up and down Main Streets across America that have already closed for good and the thousands more teetering on the brink. One would be hard-pressed to find another sector in the U.S. economy that has requested and received more in taxpayer-funded bailouts and other giveaways from the Trump administration than Big Oil," said Jayson O'Neill, Western Values Project director.
The known rewards for Big Oil granted by former oil lobbyist Sec. Bernhardt:
Request: An extension of lease terms by granting suspension requests.
Request: Production compliance inspection delays and repairs or reporting requirements that may be generated from those inspections.
Request: Automatic extension of the lease terms of all primary term leases in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
Request: A delay to interim reclamation operations so that operators would not be required to perform interim reclamation on locations that they plan to return to and expand in the foreseeable future.
Request: Extension in compliance deadlines for all existing and new ONRR royalty audits and data mining requests to payors and temporary relief from penalties for failure to meet deadlines and additional time for payors to comply with the reinstated 2016 Royalty Valuation Rule by extending the compliance date as necessary.
Read additional research from Western Values Project here.

Western Values Project brings accountability to the national conversation about Western public lands and national parks conservation - a space too often dominated by industry lobbyists and their allies in government.