Published on January 24th, 2012 | by Jeremy Bloom11
GOP stonewalling on links between Koch brothers and Keystone XL pipeline
If President Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline to transport dirty tarsands oil from Canada, it sure looks like one of the beneficiaries would be his sworn enemies, the Koch brothers.
But their GOP friends in Congress – the multi-billionaire brothers are key funders of conservative causes, including last year’s GOP takeover of the House of Representatives – are blocking questions about the Koch brothers at tomorrow’s hearing on the pipeline.
As revealed in a series of articles at InsideClimate, the Koch brothers are heavily involved in energy, and they told Canada’s National Energy Board in an official regulatory filing that they have “a direct and substantial interest in the application” for the pipeline. (UPDATE: For more on that filing, see this article in The Guardian UK newspaper.)
- “The Kochs themselves claim on one of their own websites to be ‘among Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers, and exporters’.”
- Koch Industries’ subsidiary Flint Hills Resources Canada LP “supplies about 250,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day to a heavy oil refinery in Minnesota, also owned by the Koch brothers.”
- Flint Hills also “operates a crude oil terminal in Hardisty, Alberta, the starting point of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.”
- Pipeline builder TransCanada estimates that by letting this oil get shipped out to the world market, it would increase oil prices up to $3 a barrel (a fact that is not trumpeted in any of the GOP selling points on the pipeline – yes, it would RAISE oil prices for everyone). As InsideClimate points out, with their fingers in various energy pies, this price hike would give the Koch brothers a nice windfall profit.
Congressman Henry Waxman, a great progressive Democrat from Southern California, picked up on the story. As the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he’s been trying to get the Koch brothers in to testify about their involvement. They responded to questions with, to put it gently, evasive answers:
The Koch representatives said that the Keystone XL pipeline has “nothing to do with any of our businesses” and that Koch had “no financial interest” in the pipeline. They also stated that the company neither supports nor opposes the legislation we will be considering next week.
However, Koch’s representatives refused to answer questions about Koch’s activities or interests in the Canadian tar sands. They refused to confirm or deny reports that the company is developing tar sand projects. They also refused to say whether Koch Industries owns—through a wholly owned subsidiary—a terminal involved in the tar sands business.
But he’s being blocked by the GOP. They don’t want this hearing to be about anything but how awesomely wonderful Keystone XL would be and how many great jobs it would create (See:
As Meteor Blades points out at DailyKos, the Koch brothers have spent $50 million lobbying Congress, they launched a major PR campaign when the InsideClimate articles ran… why NOT come state their case to Congress?
The Koch Brothers are eager to present their case in just about every other forum they can, especially those they pay big bucks to support. Surely these billionaires aren’t afraid whoever they send to testify can’t handle a little questioning from Congressmen Waxman and Whitfield and other members of the committee? Or does saying things under oath complicate their usual methodology where the truth is a non-participating bystander at best?
What you can do
Send a message to President Obama that you support him on the environment – either a basic message on the White House website, or by sending a donation via the ActGreen PAC page on ActBlue.org. You can also support Congressman Waxman via ActGreen.
Show you support the greenest President we’ve seen in a generation – and by donating via ActGreen, you’re reinforcing the message that it’s not just big oil that supports candidates with their donations… it’s also people who care about the environment!
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