Koch Brothers Could Earn $100 Billion in Tar Sands Profit if Keystone XL Pipeline Is Approved

Authors of a 40-page report by the liberal think-tank International Forum on Globalization have concluded that the billionaire duo, David and Charles Koch, stand to make as much as $100 billion in profits from their holdings in the tar sands of Alberta if President Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline. Because it would cross the boundary between Canada and the United States, the pipeline, which would connect the tar sands to refineries on the Texas gulf coast, requires a presidential permit based on U.S. national interest. Given the mandates of the review process, a decision isn't likely until early 2014.


Boiled down to the essentials of its executive summary, the IFG report—Billionaires' Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL Pipeline—states:

By better connecting Canadian tar sands to U.S. refineries and their growing export markets, KXL will create a cash cow on steroids for the Kochs. KXL would worsen today's chances for controlling carbon by enormously expanding the Kochs' financial war chest thereby increasing their ability to influence U.S. carbon pollution policymaking and undermine urgent global climate cooperation.

IFG's special report reveals that Koch Industries' role in KXL includes:

2 million or more potential acres in Alberta with tar sands (and emissions) exceeding Exxon, Chevron and ConocoPhillips combined;

$53 million in Koch Cash for front groups and politicians who are pushing to fast-track KXL;

$100 billion in potential profits due to KXL, or 1 million times more than the average KXL worker's wage over the life of the pipeline.

The resulting rise in the pace and scale of Canadian crude oil consumption will make more money faster for the Kochs, who stand to personally profit from KXL more than any other individuals, even Exxon executives.

Approval of the pipeline, the report's authors add, would give the Kochs "more money to ramp up their already successful attacks against Americans' voting rights, labor rights, pollution controls, and other public interest protections."

The Kochs, with a combined net worth of $92 billion, have been the leaders in financial support for climate change denialist propaganda, surpassing even Exxon's massive support for such lies, as well as denying candidates and lobbying meant to spur lawmakers away from pollution controls.

The authors conclude:

No single permit or pipeline will itself solve our Earth's deepening crisis of economic inequality and ecological collapse, but rejecting both can build awareness and popular pressure to reduce the role of private money polluting politics, the underlying problem obstructing our global economic transition from today's delusion of endless industrial growth to ecological sustainability and social justice.

KGrandia has a diary up on the subject here.

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