Koch Brothers

Crossposted from Checks & Balances Project

Grover Norquist is a familiar player in Washington debates, renowned for convincing nearly every Republican in Congress to sign a pledge to not raise taxes. But Norquist’s main job is not as a principled advocate for his brand of limited government but functioning as a paid lobbyist for whatever corporate interests are ready to write him a check. Norquist is a prominent pundit for Big Pharma and Big Tobacco, and now, he’s also batting for Big Oil.

Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), is at the forefront of the latest fight against renewable energy in the United States.

Conservative front groups and fossil fuel interests are attacking renewable energy standards in a coordinated assault to protect profits generated from fossil fuel-based electricity. Twenty-nine states have renewable energy standards and twenty-two of those have become fierce battlegrounds.

This coordinated attack on clean energy bears resemblance to the effort by Big Tobacco to prevent public health laws from impacting the profitability of tobacco companies. And it turns out, a lot of people working to dismantle renewable energy laws are deeply connected to Big Tobacco. Some, like Grover Norquist, even worked with Big Tobacco on their misinformation campaigns and are now turning their lobbying power to attack state clean energy policies.

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Wait, what? Yes, you read it right: another scientist -- and one funded by the Koch brothers, no less -- has admitted that climate change is real and caused by humans.

I can't say it any better than climate scientist Michael Mann, creater of the infamous hockey-stick graph. The article in the Christian Science Monitor quotes him as writing on his Facebook wall:

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Ever wonder what keeps climate deniers awake at night? Turns out, it's you.

Last week, Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) held their first Truth 2 Power Conference in Cable, Wisconsin. The "conference" (based on the photos, there were at least a dozen students in attendance) was intended to be CFACT's "direct response to the dangerous agenda of Power Shift 2011".

The CFACT organizers are evidently terrified that Power Shift-ers are "ready to infiltrate our college campuses, to affect elections and to corrupt hearts and minds" as part if our nefarious plot to “return America to the standard of living we enjoyed in 1882.” We were unaware that wind and solar power enjoyed widespread deployment in the 1800's, but we'll take CFACT at its word.

CFACT describes itself as a student-run group on the “cutting edge of today’s environmental debate”, but unsurprisingly, it turns out they are just another corporate-funded wing of the climate-denying polluter machine, backed by the likes of ExxonMobil and Koch Industries.

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Un-Vail the Kochs

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June 24, 2011

Last January, Energy Action Coalition members and friends joined 1,500 people protesting outside a political fundraiser convened by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch in Palm Springs, California. Weeks later we saw Koch funded front groups and Gov. Scott Walker mount a war against teachers and other public workers in Wisconsin. Since then, we’ve seen Koch funded assaults on the EPA, on Social Security, and a new effort to build an environmentally risky tar sands pipeline.

Now, the Kochs are coming to Colorado. This Sunday through Tuesday in Beaver Creek (near Vail) they will host an invitation only discussion between corporate titans and political operatives to plot a secret plan to spend tens of millions of dollars of corporate money on the 2012 elections. We learned this news just days ago when the Richmond Times Dispatch reported that Governor McDonnell of Virginia will be joining the strategy sessions. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has said he’s “dropped by” these meetings in the past.

Will you be there to raise your voice in protest? We will!

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I attended an EPA hearing on May 11th titled, “EPA Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachian Jobs – Part II” by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.” House Republicans framed a mythical tone that President Obama’s EPA has killed coal mining jobs by using its authority under the Section 404(C) of the Clean Water Act. One interesting note about this hearing is that through an Open Secrets search, I discovered $23,950 in campaign donations in the 2010 election cycle by Koch Industries to five Republicans present at the hearing. They include James Lankford (OK), Don Young (AK), Rob Gibbs (OH), John Mica (FL), and Larry Bucshon (IN).

A lobbying group in attendance was FACES (Federation for American Coal, Energy, and Security). They all wore shirts with the slogan, “Protecting American Coal Jobs”. They looked like they were actual West Virginia coal miners, but FACES is a coal industry front group, made infamous a few years back when the pictures of "grassroots" supporters on their website turned out to be purchased from iStockphoto.com.

While the Koch Brothers make far more money off oil than coal, the candidates they and other powerful lobbyists support have a profit-first, anti-regulatory mentality, which plays directly into the hands of the coal companies.

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