If a person or an organization is inclined to conceal their intentions, or not to disclose information they feel may portray them in a negative light they are considered secretive. Americans are learning more every day that the billionaire Koch brothers go to great lengths to conceal their involvement in directing the Republicans’ in Congress and state legislatures through their political action committees and various belief tanks. One area the Kochs have been secretive about is their dark money connection to any and all attempts in the states and nationally to kill clean air requirements enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency that, according to the Kochs, is their mortal enemy.
It should come as no surprise to any American keeping tabs on the Kochs that they have spent a great deal of money to hasten the construction of the KeystoneXL pipeline, but it is not just because the dirty energy fascists will add to their fortune by refining tar sand prior to shipping it to Texas for export to China and Europe; it is because they stand to make tens-of-billions of dollars before the tar ever enters American territory.
Over the past couple of days, there have been two reports that should enrage Americans concerned about the quality of the air they breathe or the rapidly changing climate, and likely the Koch brothers want to keep their dirty involvement away from the public’s eye. Both stories directly tie the Kochs to the KeystoneXL pipeline that oil-whore Republicans and Speaker John Boehner are frantic to see constructed to profit the oil industry and Boehner’s personal stock portfolio. However, where John Boehner will profit from the pipeline’s construction because he owns stock in seven Canadian tar sand companies, building the Keystone XL pipeline would generate $100 billion in profits for Charles and David Koch, according to a report released four days ago.
According to the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), the Koch brothers and their privately-owned company, Koch Industries, are holding close to 2 million acres of land in Alberta, Canada, where the Keystone pipeline will originate. In fact, there are many Koch Industry subsidiaries that will “benefit from the pipeline’s construction, including Koch Exploration Canada, which would profit from oil development on its land, and Koch Supply and Trading, which would benefit from oil derivatives trading.” Throughout the Republican drive to push President Obama to approve Keystone’s construction, officials from Koch Industries have asserted the “Keystone XL pipeline has nothing to do with any of our businesses.” The IFG report revealed the Koch’s dirty secret that Keystone XL has everything to do with their business and it is why they fund Republican efforts to pressure the President to approve the pipeline’s immediate construction.
What should be obvious to anyone familiar with Republican oil-whores is that IFG estimates the billionaire oil magnates have paid about $50 million to conservative belief-tanks and members of Congress to support inaction on climate change as well as push for the pipeline’s construction. The Republicans advocating for the pipeline’s approval have never admitted to the people that not one drop of refined tar sand will be available for domestic consumers, or that as a foreign export pipeline the oil is already slated for Europe and China. Environmentalists are rightly worried about the devastating climate and environmental impacts the pipeline will have that includes intensely higher greenhouse gas emissions that an esteemed NASA climatologist warns means “game over for the environment.” For Americans living in and around Chicago, it did not take a noted climatologist to tell them it is game over for their local environment due to the Koch brothers storing refuge from refining tar sands.
In and around south Chicago, the dirty by-product of refining Canadian tar sand, “petcoke,” is responsible for polluting the air and water with toxic vanadium contained in the black dust the Kochs are piling up waiting to export to countries without environmental protections. Petcoke, short for petroleum coke, is the waste from refining tar sand oil and as its production increases petcoke is piling up near refineries across the Midwest and jeopardizing air and water quality the Koch brothers have no regard for.
Petcoke is just one tar sand residue that is worse for the environment than burning dirty coal, and its danger is one item a Koch-associated energy firm omitted from a State Department analysis claiming developing Canada’s vast tar sand reserves and sending it through the Keystone XL pipeline will not raise greenhouse gas emissions. The giant piles of petcoke stored along the Calumet River near Chicago are part of the Koch brothers’ business empire because a Koch Industries subsidiary, KCBX, owns “large parcels of land along the Calumet river” where tar sand residue is shipped in, stored, and distributed close to middle class homes.
What Chicago residents should be enraged over is that not only is their air being poisoned by the existing piles of petcoke, a new refinery’s “coker” which will be the second largest in the world “is growing by leaps and bounds” according to an Environmental Task Force member who said “It’s coming at a breathtaking rate.” When Tom Shepherd says breathtaking, he means it literally and figuratively because the toxic dust hangs in the air on its way to coating the surrounding environment that according to the Koch brothers is their dog-given right as free-market capitalists.
The Koch brothers and their Americans for Prosperity activist arm have secretly sought to derail and roll back clean energy regulations and environmental protections in states across the nation. The news they own 2 million acres around Alberta Canada’s tar sand reserves coupled with their intent to pile up residue from their tar sand refining efforts explains just one reason they are on a crusade to eliminate clean air and water standards.
If Americans have learned anything about the Koch brothers fascist government interference, it is that their agendas all include harming Americans for profit and to satisfy the greed for power to “fundamentally transform America” to their vision of a nation sans environmental safeguards. The Koch brothers spend tens-of-millions of dollars to kill Americans whether it is stopping the Affordable Care Act, eliminating Social Security and Medicare, slashing food assistance for poor women and children, or poisoning Americans with toxic dust from their tar sand residue. Now that it is no longer a secret they own millions of acres where the Keystone pipeline will originate, and are piling up giant mounds of petcoke around neighborhoods in Chicago, it is incumbent on decent Americans to demand that the State Department and President Obama permanently deny construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.