The Koch Brothers

Koch Brothers Quietly Seek To Ban New Mass Transit In Tennessee

A rendering of Nashville’s Amp bus system.
CREDIT: Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority

The Tennessee Senate passed a bill last week that, if approved, would broadly ban mass transit projects in the region, an anti-transit effort that’s gotten some help in the state from Charles and David Koch.

On Thursday, the Tennessee Senate passed SB 2243, which includes an amendment that “prohibits metropolitan governments and any transit authorities created by a metropolitan government from constructing, maintaining or operating any bus rapid transit system using a separate lane, or other separate right-of-way, dedicated solely to the use of such bus rapid transit system on any state highway or state highway.” The amendment is aimed at Nashville’s proposed $174 million rapid bus system called the Amp, but would apply to any mass transit system proposed in Nashville.

Koch Brothers Are Principal Stakeholders in Canadian Tar Sands

From “The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.” .

David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

You might expect the biggest lease owner in Canada’s oil sands, or tar sands, to be one of the international oil giants, like Exxon Mobil or Royal Dutch Shell. But that isn’t the case. The biggest lease holder in the northern Alberta oil sands is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the privately-owned cornerstone of the fortune of conservative Koch brothers Charles and David.

The Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres — an area nearly the size of Delaware — in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, according to an activist group that studied Alberta provincial records. The Post confirmed the group’s findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government’s ministry of energy. Separately, industry sources familiar with oil sands leases said Koch’s lease holdings could be closer to two million acres. The companies with the next biggest net acreage positions in oil sands leases are Conoco Phillips and Shell, both close behind.

What is Koch Industries doing there? The company wouldn’t comment on its holdings or strategy, but it appears to be a long-term investment that could produce tens of thousands of barrels of the region’s thick brand of crude oil in the next three years and perhaps hundreds of thousands of barrels a few years after that.

The finding about the Koch acreage is likely to inflame the already contentious debate about the Keystone XL Pipeline and spur activists and environmentalists seeking to slow or stop planned expansions of production from the northern Alberta oil sands, or tar sands. Environmental groups have already made opposing the pipeline their leading cause this spring and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called the Koch brothers Charles and David “un-American” and “shadowy billionaires.”

The link between Koch and Keystone XL is, however, indirect at best. Koch’s oil production in northern Alberta is “negligible,” according to industry sources and quarterly publications of the provincial government. Moreover, Koch has not reserved any space in the Keystone XL pipeline, a process that usually takes place before a pipeline is built. The pipeline also does not run anywhere near Koch’s refining facilities. And TransCanada, owner of the Keystone routes, says Koch is not expected to be one of the pipeline’s customers.

Koch: 1996 marks beginning of national efforts

To see the political evolution of Charles and David Koch, start in 1996. President Bill Clinton was fighting Bob Dole to stay in the White House, and Republicans were struggling to keep control of the House of Representatives after winning a majority there for the first time in 42 years.

The election would mark the first Republican victory linked publicly to Koch money and established the brothers’ pattern of influencing elections through tax-exempt groups.

The Kansas brothers kept a low profile in the months leading up to the 1996 election. Koch Industries gave $320,800 to congressional candidates that year — about a fifth of the $1.6 million the company would later give in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Yet Senate campaign finance investigators suspected the brothers funneled millions of dollars in the final months through secretive groups to run attack ads that helped Republicans win seats in Congress. The massive ad campaigns likely changed the outcome of close congressional races, investigators said, including four races in the Kochs’ home state of Kansas.

Koch Brothers Continue State-by-State Attempts to Stifle Growth of Renewable Energy

A recent flood of Koch-supported think tanks, junk scientists and astroturf groups from inside and outside of Kansas are awaiting the outcome of a bill this week that could stall progress on the growth of clean energy in Kansas.

States around the country, including Texas, Ohio, Missouri and North Carolina are poised to cut back on government support for clean energy jobs using model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC, which brings companies together with state lawmakers to forge a wish list of corporate state laws behind closed doors, is coordinating this year’s assault on state laws that require a gradual increase of electricity generated by clean energy sources.

ALEC and a hoard of other Koch-funded interests operating under the umbrella of the State Policy Network have hit Kansas legislators hard with junk economic studies, junk science and a junk vision of more polluting energy in Kansas’ future. Koch Industries lobbyist Jonathan Small has added direct pressure on Kansas lawmakers to rollback support for clean energy.

This fossil fuel-funded attack ignores the good that wind energy has done for Kansas, a state known for its bipartisan support for its growing wind industry (see key report by Polsinelli Shughart). The state now has 19 operating wind farms that have brought millions to farmers leasing their land and millions more to the state, county and local levels (NRDC). The American Wind Energy Association says that Kansas wind industry jobs have grown to 13,000 with the help of incentives like the renewable portfolio standard.

4 thoughts on “The Koch Brothers”

  1. Everyone should know about this information. In states that embrace clean energy, job growth in wind and solar is passing oil and gas. Jobs and our future are being silently taken away by ALEC. Using junk logic and science is the only thing ALEC excels at today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Koch brothers have been trying to undermine our constitutional democracy for a long time. They have tried to buy their way into the White House more than once. As campaign vice chairman, David Koch was in charge of running the finances of Bob Dole’s presidential run against Bill Clinton. Their funding and orchestration of the Tea Party protest rallies was just another example of their attempts to use their wealth to run roughshod over democratically elected government.

    With the creation of ALEC, the Kochs adopted a new strategy of achieving their political aims by buying influence at the state level. Thanks to the Kochs, legislative attacks on renewable energy are underway in virtually every state in the Union. I don’t think it is hyperbole at all to describe these men as Public Enemy Number One.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree. Public Enemy #1. They are hiding behind dark money. They have done so much to undermine our nation and its spirit. This is what happens when so few have so much wealth. I honestly believe they have purchased the grand old party. They used the teaparty to move the GOP so far right, that the party is eating its own.

      Americans need to know that Voting is Critical. Even midterms matter. Corporations and the Koch brothers may have more money but we have more votes. To many did not vote in 2010 which gave us a “do-nothing congress”. It cost our infrastructure, schools, immigration reform, the list is so long. It is a shame.

      I am waiting to see what happens in the 2014 midterm.

      Like

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