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Dems Vote in Favor of Koch Brothers’ Economic Interests While Koch Brothers Work to Defeat Them

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Guess who stands to gain from development of Canada’s tar sands oil, which will be accelerated by approval of the Keystone XL Canadian tar sands exports pipeline?  That’s right, our friends the Koch brothers.

New research from the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) confirms that Koch Industries has a huge financial interest at stake in KXL’s approval, which could become “stranded assets” if KXL is not approved. The Koch Brothers’ combined net worth ($100 billion) is far more than Bill Gates’ ($78 billion), allowing Koch to outspend all other oil companies-even Exxon-in blocking climate change policies. Koch has repeatedly denied any interest in KXL, but we now see that the very opposite is true.

Alberta’s government land sales database (left) shows Koch with over one million acres in Alberta, Canada (yellowish splotches inside purple area of Athabasca tar sands). Official records reveal Koch Oil Sands Operating ULC (KOSO) purchased 1.1 million acres of land that likely contain enough carbon-rich oil to profit the world’s two wealthiest men tens of billions of dollars. But without KXL, the Kochs’ remote carbon reserves could be too costly to develop and transport from the middle of the continent, saddling Koch with potentially billions of dollars in unexploited carbon they can’t get to market profitably if KXL is rejected.

Which means, of course, that any Democrat who supports development of the Keystone XL pipeline may be giving the Koch brothers the rope to hang them with. Those Democrats include several Senators up for election this year, such as Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mary Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Begich of Alaska, and our own Mark Warner. Meanwhile, the Koch brothers – who stand to benefit from this very project – have already spent $25 million (or more) “in crucial 2014 House and Senate races, according to Democratic media-buying sources.” And they’re likely to ramp that up a lot further as the year goes by, including against the Democrats who’ve voted in favor of the Koch’s interests regarding the Canadian tar sands. Perhaps it’s time for Democrats up for reelection in “purple” states in 2014 to rethink that approach?

  • Dan Sullivan

    Are Democratic candidates naive enough to think that their support of Keystone XL will shield them against Koch money? Do they believe that support of Keystone XL will provide their margin of victory?

    The Koch strategy is much more global, direct, and effective: support like-minded candidates in the Republican Party who are most likely to defeat Democratic candidates.

    There is no Democratic candidate who will sway Keystone XL supporters from voting with the Kochs. Nor will that support affect whether the Kochs funnel money to their opponents. The formula is simple: Does the Republican candidate stand a chance of holding the seat or changing blue to red?

    In almost any Virginia race this fall other than the 3rd, 8th, and 11th CDs, the odds are with the Kochs. And, yes, Virginia, Ed Gillespie has a shot.

    So look for Koch $$$ in the 10th and the US Senate Race; and not based upon the candidates’ Keystone XL position.

  • linda b

    I have no idea…