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Republicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries

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Republicans are pushing for assistance from the Trump administration for both the renewable energy and fossil fuel industries. 

Three Republican senators have asked the Treasury Department to help the renewable energy sector by extending the amount of time under which companies can qualify for a specific tax credit.

A group of 60 House Republicans also asked the Interior Department to speed up its process for reducing payments by fossil fuel companies leasing public lands. 

Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead Senators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December Republicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries Senators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day MORE (Maine) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisHillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting Lawmakers ask for briefings on Chinese targeting of coronavirus research Republicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries MORE (N.C.) wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSenate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December Republicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries MORE asking him to extend the “safe harbor” period under which companies can start construction on renewable energy projects and qualify for a tax credit.

They wrote in their letter that some developers may not have received equipment in time to qualify for one of the credits “due to COVID-19 related disruptions.”

“In order to mitigate this uncertainty, we urge you to modify Treasury’s guidance to treat COVID19-related equipment delivery delays as acceptable disruptions,” they added. 

The senators also said that many companies are not able to maintain a “continuous program of construction” to qualify for a different tax credit because of the pandemic. The lawmakers asked that “continuous efforts” be required for qualification instead. 

“At a time when the renewable energy industry is facing significant challenges, these steps will help protect American jobs and provide investor certainty as we work to rebuild our economy,” Tillis, Collins and Murkowski wrote. 

Their letter comes as renewables are facing obstacles amid the coronavirus pandemic. A recent analysis found that since the coronavirus outbreak began, nearly 600,000 clean energy jobs have been lost. 

A two-year rent pause for wind and solar projects on federal lands has also recently ended. Reuters reported this week that those companies have been billed retroactively.

Meanwhile, House Republicans pushed Thursday for help for the oil, gas and coal sectors. Sixty lawmakers from the lower chamber asked the Interior Department to speed up its process for cutting royalties for companies that produce fossil fuels on public lands and in public waters. 

“We hope that you will use every tool at your disposal — including expedited royalty relief on federal lands and waters — to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t result in a further crippling of America’s oil, natural gas, and coal sectors,” they wrote. 

 “We encourage you to take additional action to streamline and expedite this process as soon as possible. We are concerned that the current process is unnecessarily onerous and lacks the clarity needed to provide swift relief,” said the letter, which was led by Reps. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries Trump campaign launches new fundraising program with House Republicans GOP sees groundswell of women running in House races MORE (R-La.), Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanRepublicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries House GOP urge Trump against supporting additional funding for state and local governments House GOP lawmakers urge Senate to confirm Vought MORE (R-S.C.) and Markwayne MullinMarkwayne MullinRepublicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries Overnight Energy: Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel | GOP lawmakers push back on bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners | Green groups sue Trump over California fracking plans Republicans push back on bipartisan bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners MORE (R-Okla.). 

The Bureau of Land Management has so far granted more than 70 requests for royalty rate cuts, and as of this week, had granted all of the requests it received, according to available data. 

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