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A draft bill provided for credits of $ 3 billion for the SPR oil account of the Department of Energy, “intended for the necessary expenses related to the acquisition, transport and injection of national petroleum products”. After the Democrats resisted, claiming it was a costly bailout for the oil industry, it was removed from the final version.
“Here are some of the improvements,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in an announcement on the changes he and his party made to the bill, including: “Eliminating the $ 3 billion bailout for big oil.”
This money was to be used to buy oil to supplement the strategic US oil reserves at a time of low prices. The Department of Energy announced last week that it would buy 77 million barrels of American crude oil to start filling the strategic oil reserve in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic.
“DOE is moving quickly to support the United States oil producers faced with potentially catastrophic losses due to the impacts of COVID-19 and the intentional disruption of foreign markets by foreign players in world oil markets, “said Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette at the time .
It is unclear how the amendment to the bill will affect the Department of Energy’s plans. Fox News contacted the department for comments, but did not immediately respond.
The elimination of funding for the strategic oil reserve was one of many changes made as Democrats and Republicans negotiated the terms of the stimulus package. A provision called for by the Democrats – which would have imposed new emission standards on the airline industry – has also been removed.
Brooke Singman of Fox News contributed to this report.