Koch Bros: $100 Billion in Tar Sands Profits

As the focus on the government shutdown/ debt ceiling recedes, Republicans are starting their next strong push to finally get the Keystone tar sands pipeline approved.

After all, there’s so much at stake – $100 billion in profits for one company – Koch Industries, one of the biggest tar sands players. So far, the Koch Brothers have spent $53 million supporting over 90 organizations and politicians that relentlessly pursue Keystone’s approval, reports the International Forum on Globalization in the report, Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers & the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Think tanks funded by Koch are doing their bidding, releasing  nearly 1,000 pro-Keystone XL reports or statements, they say. 

Koch Industries is the second largest private corporation in America and is co-owned by two brothers who have a combined net worth of $92 billion. "If approved by President Obama, Keystone will have an explosive impact on not only our planet’s intensifying ecological crisis but also on today’s extreme concentrations of global wealth and power," the authors say.

Koch ownership of Alberta tar sands acreage – about 2 million acres – exceeds Exxon, Chevron and ConocoPhillips combined.

Koch tar sands acreage

"The Kochs are already the financial and ideological leaders of so-far successful efforts to counter regulation of carbon, as part of their broader agenda to advance an extremist ideology they call ‘economic freedom’ that calls for shrinking government and the prioritization of profits over life itself." They are key funders of the Tea Party.

Keystone’s approval would not only ramp up tar sands production – think of it as subsidies for Koch’s many campaigns: suppressing voting rights, labor rights, pollution controls, squashing renewable energy and efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and many other public interest protections.

"We all know they will use that money to fund and expand their influence network, subvert democracy, crush unions like in Wisconsin, and get more extremists elected to congress," says Nathalie Lowenthal-Savy, a researcher on the report.

They have also donated $30.5 million to 221 universities for curriculum that supports their worldview.

"Embodying the fatal flaws of today’s economic delusion that endless growth is possible on a finite planet, KXL offers only short-term jobs for a few thousand workers while polluters like the Kochs make billions more dollars pumping dangerous new levels of carbon into our atmosphere. Theirs is a worldview that has blighted us with unprecedented economic inequality and hurtled our Earth towards the edge of ecological collapse."

The Kochs’ net worth jumped 24% this year.

Read the report which describes the sundry ways the Koch’s benefit from tar sands.

Here’s how they do it:

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