October 8, 2020 at 7:20 AM EDT
How the Cares Act gave millions to energy companies with no strings attached
By Desmond Butler, Steven Mufson and Douglas MacMillan
For pipeline company Antero Midstream, a firm at the forefront of the Appalachian fracking boom, the mammoth stimulus bill known as the Cares Act delivered a quick and happy benefit: a $55 million payment from the Treasury Department.
The payment came with no strings attached. And although the legislation was partly tailored to help businesses keep people employed, Antero didn’t need to agree to hire or retain any workers. It didn’t need to promise to invest in its business. And it didn’t need to pledge to meet any new regulatory standards.
The money, which came in the form of a tax refund, helped Antero maintain its lucrative cash dividend payments to investors despite a year of economic upheaval. At the end of April, Antero chief executive Paul Rady and President Glen C. Warren Jr. announced the tax windfall and assured investors that “we’re in good shape, and we feel good about it.”