Koch Bros At It Again, Blocking Clean Fuels Mandates

We couldn’t possibly report on all the shenanigans the Koch Bros are up to because their reach and "interests" are so diverse.

Besides their obvious oil and tar sands interests, their tentacles are reaching into our school system, pushing anti-global warming curriculum in elementary schools through college. They’re even behind the attacks on Obama’s health care law and unions. The question is, what aren’t they behind?

Americans for Prosperity takes credit for creating the culture of climate change denial in the US.

They and other big oil companies are also behind the drive to gut environmental regulations, spending countless millions of dollars to defeat clean energy and global warming legislation, according to the study, "Dirty Money."

One of the Koch businesses handles about 25% of tar sands imports into the US – they’re one of the biggest refiners of Alberta oil sands crude oil.

So, you’ll understand why they don’t like Clean Fuel Standards, which, spurred by California’s pioneering law, has been moving along in the Northeast and Midwest.

California’s pioneering standard requires that oil refiners, importers and distributors reduce the carbon intensity of their fuel mix by 10% by 2020 – not just from tailpipe emissions but through the lifecycle from extraction to combustion. It ranks the intensity of fuels, which, of course, excludes tar sands oil, the most carbon intensive crude oil.

The law was passed in 2009 and was supposed to take effect January 1, 2012.

Northeast Clean Fuels Standard

In the Northeast, 11 states are developing a Clean Fuel Standard, along the lines of California’s.

Oil industry and Koch-backed nonprofit, Americans for Prosperity, and Consumer Energy Alliance, which represents oil and gas producers, are diligently working to convince the Northeast that a low carbon standard is a bad idea, reports InsideClimate News.

Consumer Energy Alliance is peddling a report that claims adopting California’s standard would cost the Northeast nearly $130 billion in economic activity and at least 147,000 jobs over 10 years. And gas prices would double. Pretty scary!

As usual, those findings contradict other studies, which project $41 billion in increased economic activity over 10 years, with only slight increases in gas prices (which would likely occur anyway).

But Republican-led states are falling in line and apparently the entire Northeast compact is considering making the program voluntary and based on incentives. New Hampshire’s House recently passed legislation that bans the standard, and New Jersey and Maine have pulled out.

Opponents have also been working to dissolve the very successful Northeast regional cap-and-trade program, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). New Jersey pulled out last year after an Americans for Prosperity campaign. Legislative attempts to force New Hampshire, Delaware and Maine to exit, failed.

But opponents have been very successful at eliminating the other two regional cap-and-trade programs. 

Meanwhile, the Consumer Energy Alliance continues fighting California’s low-carbon fuel standard in a two-year long lawsuit.
In 2010, they blocked Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) from being able to move a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard through means such as $1 million in TV and radio ads.

More Tar Sands Pipelines

Since President Obama rejected the TransCanada tar sands pipeline, the company has been looking for alternative routes.

It wants to build a $5.6 billion pipeline that moves 625,000 barrels a day from Alberta to Ontario, Montreal, Quebec City and to a refinery in New Brunswick, which supplies much of the transportation fuels to the Northeast.

Montreal Pipe Line Ltd wants to move the crude from Canada through Maine and export it from Portland. An existing pipeline runs in the opposite direction – they want it to flow from Canada instead.

That pipeline is some 40-plus years old and wasn’t made to withstand the corrosive nature of tar sands. There would no doubt be leaks as there have been in every tar sands pipeline in Canada.

Since a Low Carbon Fuel Standard would exclude tar sands oil because of its intensive carbon footprint, it would ruin their plans for shipping tar sands into the Northeast.  

The Clean Fuels Standard is essential to not only cutting greenhouse gas emissions from fuels, but also to creating a dynamic market for clean vehicles.

Since some of the Northeastern states switched to GOP leadership in the 2010 elections, they’re less interested in clean fuels. The same is true in the Midwest, where a Clean Fuels program no longer exists because 5 of the 10 governors that signed on have been replaced by Republicans.

And Northeast states are understandably concerned about the lawsuit against California’s standard, which blocked the law from taking effect January 1.

A judge blocked the Clean Fuels Standard from taking effect until the Consumer Energy Alliance and other lawsuits are resolved, because it "discriminates against the import of ethanol and crude oil into the state."

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Comments on “Koch Bros At It Again, Blocking Clean Fuels Mandates”

  1. Joe

    Dr. Mitchell Taylor, Manager, Wildlife Research Section, Department of Environment, Igloolik, Nunavut, Canada: Our information is that 7 of 13 pooplatiuns of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (more than half the world’s estimated total) are either stable, or increasing . Of the three that appear to be declining, only one has been shown to be affected by climate change. No one can say with certainty that climate change has not affected these other pooplatiuns, but it is also true that we have no information to suggest that it has.


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