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‘Not just bad, it’s pathological’: While pushing big oil bailouts, Trump slaps wind and solar industry with $50 million in old rent bills

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“Robbing from a clean energy future to prop up the dirty energy past.”

While giving fossil fuel companies access to relief funds ostensibly meant for small businesses struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration on Monday slapped solar and wind power firms with retroactive rent bills dating back two years.

The Interior Department is demanding rent payments from renewable energy companies operating on federal lands, two years after it suspended rent for the operators as it investigated whether the Obama administration had charged too much.

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The administration plans to collect $50 million in rent this year from 96 companies operating on federal property—the same amount of money that a recent report showed is going to fossil fuel companies in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the oil and gas companies may not have to pay those loans back.

Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette also admitted last week that the White House pushed the Federal Reserve to open its Main Street Lending Program to the oil and gas industries.

Susan Hassol of the climate research firm Climate Communication wrote that the Trump administration’s charging of “huge retroactive rents” for wind and solar operations while simultaneously pushing for tax giveaways and bailouts for the oil and gas companies is “robbing from a clean energy future to prop up a dirty past.”

The retroactive rent bills come as the solar, wind, and geothermal industries have seen many projects delayed due to the pandemic. The crisis has left many companies unable to access federal subsidies and has cut the industries’ projected growth for this year by as much as 10%.

On Twitter, Doug Parr of Greenpeace UK called the administration’s treatment of renewable energy companies versus its insistence on aiding fossil fuels “not just bad” but “pathological.”

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Earlier this month, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis called any financial aid given to the fossil fuel sector “a complete waste of money,” especially after oil prices fell in late April to negative-$37 per barrel and prompted calls for the government to nationalize the industry.

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NC governor’s office ‘relying on science and data’ — not Trump — to set rules on RNC convention

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's (D) office on Monday responded to President Donald Trump's threat to move the Republican National Convention out of Charlotte if the state does not allow full attendance in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Trump suggested that the convention would be moved unless the party is allowed to "fully occupy" Charlotte's Spectrum Center, which holds nearly 20,000 people.

"Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the Arena," Trump said. "In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space."

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Right-wing militia spokeswoman defends lynching of Kentucky governor in effigy: Protesting ‘is not the answer any longer’

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A group of right-wing protesters held a demonstration in front of the house of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's mansion this Sunday, at one point hanging an effigy of the governor on a tree in what looked to be a mock lynching. According to CNN, the protest was advertised on Facebook as a Patriot Day Rally to exercise Second Amendment rights.

The backlash against the group's actions was swift, with even Mitch McConnell slamming the move as "unacceptable."

"There is no place for hate in Kentucky," he tweeted.

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Soledad O’Brien scolds Tomi Lahren on Twitter after she calls people ‘sheep’ for Memorial Day

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Journalist Soledad O'Brien fired back at Fox News personality Tomi Lahren after she called Americans "sheep" for following pandemic safety rules on Memorial Day.

"I gotta hand it to COVID-19, you sure did expose the sheep among us," Lahren wrote in a tweet over the Memorial Day weekend.

I gotta hand it to COVID-19, you sure did expose the sheep among us.

— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) May 24, 2020

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