Kochs Profit from Canadian Eco-Nightmare
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Kochs backed Wisconsin's anti-labor governor
Koch Industries has not restricted its growing political activism to Washington.
In Wisconsin, early versions of the state's Clean Energy Jobs Act contained a low carbon fuel standard. But state policymakers dropped that provision last May, possibly a result of nearly $400,000 in Koch lobbying (not to mention pressure from the Alberta and Canadian governments).
The Koch brothers appear to have also played an instigating role in the Wisconsin labor protests. Their company was one of the biggest funders of Republican governor Scott Walker's election campaign. Walker, once in office, proposed spending cuts targeting union benefits and bargaining rights, causing a massive public backlash.
Americans for Prosperity executives reportedly encouraged the labor showdown even before Walker was sworn in. The group is now working with policymakers and activists in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to slash their union spending.
While all this was happening, Americans for Prosperity was coordinating a public relations campaign to kill cap and trade in New Hampshire. The Republican-dominated legislature had proposed a bill ejecting New Hampshire from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 10-state coalition attempting to combat climate change. During the lead-up to the vote, Americans for Prosperity paid for automated phone calls to citizens across the state, urging them to support the bill. It passed recently with a wide margin, effectively terminating New Hampshire's long-term climate change plan.
And that's not all, wrote AFP's Phil Kerpen afterward. "In the process, it could deal the death blow to cap and trade both regionally and nationally."
That'd be a huge win for Koch Industries, which wouldn't have to worry about the high emissions caused by refining Alberta oil sands crude, at least until the next clean energy law was proposed.
In the meantime, the Koch brothers hope to consolidate political control not just over Congress, but the White House too. Watch for their hand in the next presidential election, where the Kochs plan to raise $88 million to advance a conservative agenda.
Geoff Dembicki reports for The Tyee with a focus on the Alberta oil sands and the fossil fuels industry.