From The Progress Report -- June 8, 2011:
When Koch Attacks
By Josh Dorner
Oil-Funded Group: Leave Oil Companies Alone!
The billionaire Koch Brothers; their giant oil conglomerate, Koch Industries; and their vast network of right-wing political groups, think tanks, and other organizations are rarely out of the news these days, but the oil profit-fueled, multi-pronged assault on clean energy that Koch groups launched this week is particularly notable — and worrisome. Here’s what you need to know about the latest Koch-fueled attack on clean energy and President Obama, which is, at its core, an effort to make the American people forget that oil companies like Koch Industries are responsible for and benefit from today’s high gas prices and our reliance on dirty energy.
WHO: Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Koch Industries, oil-funded front group with state chapters in at least 32 states. The group, bankrolled in part directly by the Koch Brothers, spent $45 million in last year’s elections, and is positioning itself to be a force in 2012.
WHAT: AFP is involved in at least five major campaigns against clean energy right now:
The Please Don’t Blame Oil Companies for High Gas Prices Campaign : This week, AFP announced it was launching a “Running on Empty” tour to try to falsely blame President Obama for high gas prices. The tour will travel to Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The tour is, of course, funded in part by the profits Koch Industries is making as a result of today’s high oil prices.
In reality, polls show that nine of out 10 Americans blame Wall Street speculators and Big Oil’s greed for the high prices. Even Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil agree that speculation is to blame for today’s high oil prices.
Unlikely to be mentioned on the tour? How the Kochs built an oil speculation empire that is partially responsible for driving up oil prices right now.
Attacking the Clean Air Act:Various Koch groups, but especially AFP, are attempting to gut the Clean Air Act in order to prevent the EPA from using it regulatory powers to protect public health from the dangers caused by global warming pollution.
Attacking Regional Cap-and-Trade Programs: AFP has launched an all-out assault on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Northeast’s successful regional cap-and-trade system. Having already persuaded New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to bail on RGGI, AFP is staging a major protest today featuring 2012 contender Herman Cain outside the RGGI headquarters in New York City. AFP has also been trying (unsuccessfully thus far) to convince other states, including New Hampshire, Maine, and Delaware to leave the climate pact.
Attacking State-Level Renewable Electricity Standards: Politico reports that AFP is considering strategies for killing Renewable Electricity Standards in “some three dozen states,” including Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Attacking Natural Gas Vehicles: While Koch rakes in billions in annual subsidies as a result of oil and ethanol businesses, among others, AFP has launched a campaign against legislation to incentivize the use and production of natural gas vehicles. The campaign’s main attack on the legislation: that it’s a “subsidy.”
WHY: To protect the sizable profits of Koch Industries and its vast array of polluting business, both from regulations and competition from cleaner energy sources. And, most importantly, to pretend that oil companies like Koch Industries have absolutely nothing to do with the pain American consumers are feeling at the pump right now.