A pump jack is seen in Frederick on June 24, 2020. (Andy Bosselman for Colorado Newsline)
More than 104,000 Colorado businesses received between a total $7.9 billion and $14.9 billion in emergency funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, the Small Business Administration lending initiative authorized by Congress earlier this year to help employers cope with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released by the SBA this week.
The release of PPP loan data followed months of pressure from media organizations, government watchdogs and Democratic critics of the Trump administration, and offers the first comprehensive look at where more than $520 billion in federal funds have flowed since Congress first established the lending program as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in late March.
In Colorado, top recipients of PPP loans include oilfield services companies like Rolfson Oil and Brigade Energy Services, real-estate interests like the Laramar Group, and premier Denver-based law firms like Sherman & Howard and Davis Graham & Stubbs — all of which were among the 95 Colorado companies to receive loans of more than $5 million, according to SBA data.
In all, Colorado-based businesses in the oil and gas and mining sectors received between $132 million and $290 million in PPP loans. The fossil-fuel industry was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 downturn, though environmental activists have accused the Trump administration of sabotaging progress on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by launching a “stealth bailout” of the industry.
The PPP program’s low-interest loans can be forgiven if businesses meet certain criteria, including retaining or rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.
The data released by the SBA on July 6 discloses only the names of businesses that received a loan of more than $150,000. Nearly 90% of PPP loans made to Colorado businesses were in amounts less than $150,000, though these loans account for only $3 billion of the total.
The smallest loan extended to a Colorado business under PPP, according to the SBA’s data? A loan of a single dollar made to an unidentified business in Silverthorne on May 3.
The full data release can be viewed on the SBA’s website.
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