It turns out the Koch Brothers have a very good reason to spend millions of dollars to get Americans to question the validity of climate change. One of their businesses handles about 25% of tar sands imports into the US - they're one of the biggest refiners of Alberta oil sands crude oil.
Koch subsidiary, Flint Hills Resources, operates a Minnesota refinery that's capable of processing 320,000 barrels of crude a day, about four-fifths of which is sourced from Alberta.
They don't want clean energy laws to impact those operations.
Separating oil from tar sands requires huge amounts of water and energy (much more than conventional refining), resulting in much higher greenhouse gas emissions. Tar sand refineries would be early targets of greenhouse gas regulations, which is why they're trying so hard to handcuff the EPA.
While the Koch Brothers say regulations would kill jobs, what they would actually do is force them to invest in cleaner technologies.
They also lobbied hard against more stringent fuel standards for vehicles, which were finally passed by the Obama Administration when he first took office. By 2016, vehicles will have to average 35 miles per gallon, which will reduce our dependence on oil and save people many millions of dollars at the pump.
Koch Industries was virtually unknown to the public until last spring when Greenpeace released a report detailing how the conglomerate had funneled tens of millions of dollars between 2005 and 2008 to groups skeptical that climate change exists.
As more reports surfaced about Koch Industries -- notably a lengthy New Yorker expose in August -- the company's growing political influence gained national attention.
The brothers are now widely thought to be one of the driving forces behind the Tea Party movement, founding an advocacy group called Americans for Prosperity, which has provided critical funding and logistical support. Americans for Prosperity played a lead role in the Republican takeover of congress in last December's midterm elections. Budgeting $45 million for political advocacy, the group ran hard-hitting radio and TV ads throughout the year extremely critical of Democrat congressmen, especially those who'd endorsed national climate-change laws.
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