(CNSNews.com) – Green New Deal advocate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) came under fire Monday for a tweet – later deleted – apparently celebrating the news that U.S. oil futures had dropped below zero for the first time.
“You absolutely love to see it,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, responding to a tweet on the unprecedented crude oil price drop resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
She continued, “This along with record low interest rates means it’s the right time for a worker-led, mass investment in green infrastructure to save our planet. *cough*”
Ocasio-Cortez later deleted the post, which critics charged amounted to cheering for a situation that could lead to massive job losses in the U.S. energy industry. Over the past four weeks more than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.
“While @AOC deleted this tweet, the sentiment remains the same,” commented Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). “The Left doesn’t care about the millions of Americans losing their jobs. Maybe that is why they refuse to help us replenish the Paycheck Protection Program?”
“Which part of the millions of blue-collar workers losing their jobs & small refineries closing their doors forever is what you ‘love to see’ (per your deleted tweet) @AOC?” tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “Asking for those in Texas & across USA whose livelihoods (ability to put food on the table) are AT RISK.”
Conservative commentator Candace Owens called the now-deleted tweet “positively despicable,” adding that Ocasio-Cortez “is such a radical communist that she is CELEBRATING the loss of American jobs in a volatile market.”
In a more cautiously-worded tweet about 40 minutes after the first one, Ocasio-Cortez linked to the same post on the oil price situation, and said, “This snapshot is being acknowledged as a turning point in the climate movement. Fossil fuels are in long-term structural decline. This along w/ low interest rates means it‘s the right time to create millions of jobs transitioning to renewable and clean energy. A key opportunity.”
She also tweeted, “Now is the time to create millions of good jobs building out the infrastructure and clean energy necessary to save our planet for future generations. For our economy, our planet, and our future, we need a #GreenNewDeal.”
Oil demand has nose-dived as a result of worldwide lockdowns, stalled economies, travel restrictions, and the grounding of flights.
On Monday the price on contracts for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil deliveries in May dropped below zero, settling at minus-$37.63. At the start of 2020 it was just under $60.
The Associated Press reported that May deliveries have come up against the problem of lack of available storage in the U.S., due to plummeting demand. The May WTI contract expires on Tuesday, but oil to be delivered in June is still trading at $20.43 a barrel.
Brent crude – the European benchmark – was trading down nearly nine percent, at $25.57 a barrel.
Monday’s developments came just days after Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia agreed to slash crude production by 10 percent of global output, following a costly Russia-Saudi price war.
In a Dallas Morning News op-ed on Sunday, Cruz wrote that Texas is grappling not just with the health and economic crises of the coronavirus pandemic, but also with an energy crisis, due to the plummeting demand for oil.
If many small and independent producers go bankrupt, and wells close, they may not reopen, he said.
“That’s not only bad news for the millions of Americans whose livelihoods depend on a vibrant energy sector, it’s also bad news for every household in America, as heating our homes, driving our cars, flying on planes and many other aspects of our daily lives will become more expensive.”
Cruz also warned that allowing American energy producers to go bankrupt would see a return to a situation where the U.S. – now the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer – to a situation where it was dependent on foreign countries and foreign oil.
After a White House meeting with energy sector heads and lawmakers early this month, Cruz said President Trump directed cabinet members “to make sure our small and independent energy producers have the same access to emergency relief loans that small business in other industries have to keep their wells on, their doors open and their employees on the payroll.”