"Why oil billionaire David Koch is secretly funding Astroturf to repeal CA clean energy laws"
This Wonk Room cross-post is part of a Progressive Media blogging series on the fossil fuel-funded Prop 23 effort to repeal California’s clean energy climate law. Read Rebecca Lefton’s posts on Prop 23’s economic impact, national repercussions, and funding from Texas oil companies.
Much has been reported about how Texan oil companies Valero and Tesoro have been fighting to repeal the landmark clean energy climate change law, AB 32. The Wonk Room recently obtained a PowerPoint from Tesoro showing that the company made a pitch to oil companies, including BP, to join their effort known as Proposition 23.
But there is another powerful out-of-state fossil fuel interest trying to eviscerate California’s pioneering climate change law: Koch Industries. The Wonk Room has learned that Koch Industries is funding the lead “grassroots” group organizing support for Proposition 23, and is also funding the Pacific Research Institute, the main think-tank producing junk studies smearing AB 32.
As ThinkProgress and the Wonk Room have detailed, Koch Industries is the largest funder of climate change denying and anti-environmental regulation fronts worldwide and its Americans for Prosperity Foundation is responsible for helping to create the so-called Tea Party movement. While the Koch brothers at the helm of Koch Industries are committed right-wing ideologues, their financing of front groups helps boost the profits of their conglomerate. Koch Industries contributes heavily to carbon pollution through their asphalt, timber, and oil refinery subsidiaries, and the University of Massachusetts lists Koch as the the 10th worst air polluter in America.
In its corporate newsletter, Koch Industries explicitly states that the low carbon fuel standard California is set to adopt to comply with AB 32 carbon emissions regulations would harm its bottom line because Koch imports mostly high-carbon crude oil from Canada. Another Koch newsletter warns that its Pine Bend Refinery in Minnesota specializing in high-carbon Canadian crude would become much less profitable for Koch if low fuel standards mirroring AB 32 are adopted around the country.
In an attempt to kill AB 32 and squash the likelihood that similar laws spread nationwide, Americans for Prosperity California “” a front group founded and funded by Koch Industries executive David Koch “” has been organizing Tea Party rallies with Prop 23 proponent Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Linda), bringing Tea Party support to AB 32 repeal hearings, and producing videos calling on Californians to pass Prop 23. The Wonk Room, with help from CAPAF intern Tara Kutz, has produced a video detailing Koch’s secret role in repealing Californian clean energy:
WR: Moreover, here is a rare clip of Americans for Prosperity operative Meredith Turney bragging to Koch Industries executive David Koch that her front group will help take over the Golden State. Koch Industries fears that laws like California’s revolutionary AB32 will hurt their bottom line, that’s why, like the tobacco industry, they are funding front groups. Here, in a Koch Industries corporate document, they say clean energy laws like AB32 will quote “be very bad news for our industry.”