February 1 News: Koch Brothers Keep Pouring Cash Into Think Tanks, George Mason and ALEC

Four foundations run by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch hold a combined $310 million in assets, according to tax filings obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. [Public Integrity]

The documents also show that the brothers, principal owners of the second-largest privately held company in the United States, combined in 2011 to donate $24 million through those foundations with much of the money going to support free-market and libertarian think tanks and academic centers.

A $4.5 million grant to the George Mason University Foundation makes up nearly 15 percent of the university foundation’s revenue for 2011. The school is the largest recipient of Koch foundation money since 1985, and it houses several free-market and libertarian research centers including the Institute for Humane Studies, which received $3.7 million from the Koch foundations.

The D.C.-based American Legislative Exchange Council received $150,000 to help finance its activities, including meetings where corporate representatives draft model legislation with state legislators. The Koch brothers have decades-long connections with ALEC, which gave the brothers the Adam Smith Free Enterprise Award in 1994.

A study suggests the ozone hole over the Antarctic is altering wind patterns, thus weakening the Southern Ocean’s ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. [Climate Central]

The Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday that commercial production of cellulosic fuels would start this year, and proposed requiring refiners to use 11 million gallons of the material this year. [NYTimes]

The Australian government pledged to stop coal shipping developments that would damage the Great Barrier Reef, responding to a Friday deadline amid U.N. warnings that the reef’s conservation status could be downgraded. [Reuters]

The United States taxes fossil fuels less than just about every other developed country, according to a new report from the OECD. [WaPo]

The catastrophic drought in the central United States — which has cost the nation at least $35 billion, according to a report last week — shows no signs of abating as the nation enters the final full month of winter and moves toward spring. [USA Today]

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) plans to reintroduce a bill that offers tax credits for a limited amount of offshore wind projects. Its content would likely mirror the one he co-sponsored last Congress with former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). [The Hill]

The longest streak of days on record without a tornado-related fatality in the U.S. came to a violent end on Wednesday morning, when an EF-4 tornado struck Adairsville, Ga., killing at least one person in a mobile home park. [Climate Central]

10 Responses to February 1 News: Koch Brothers Keep Pouring Cash Into Think Tanks, George Mason and ALEC

  1. Zimzone says:

    I’d like to buy the world a Koch,

    but the Kochs already own the world!

  2. Paul Magnus says:

    Flood-hit Queenslanders may be moved to higher ground
    The Queensland Government has raised the prospect of abandoning some flood-prone areas and relocating residents and businesses to higher ground.

  3. Paul Magnus says:

    Only cheap energy allows this…

    “It’s no longer good enough, or acceptable, for the federal and state governments to keep writing out cheques to replace the same sections of the same roads that were flooded out two years ago, probably 10 years ago, and many times over the last 50 years,” he said.

    “We’ve got to do things better.”

  4. BillD says:

    On the comment about Australia curtailing coal shipments that could damage reefs. Does that mean damage caused by the shipping directly, or does it include the effects of green house gases from burning coal on water temperature and pH? My guess is that they are only considering the direct effects, such as pollution released by the ships.

  5. Ozonator says:

    Several AGW things considered hoaxes since they are not mentioned in the Bible and crime does not pay –

    Somewhere in the Boston region, “Thundersnow and Fireballs in Southside”;, 1/31/13). From a Felleng not making landfall, “Madagascar cyclone kills five” (Agence France-Presse;, 1/31/13).

  6. Jay Alt says:

    Reports like this one document the anti-social nature of the opposition. That is essential. But they seem too antiseptic. They fail to galvanize readers with the slightest hint that appropriate ways already exist for our outrage. ( I wonder, is this related to TPs tax status? )

    The site Boycott Koch Products is a place to start. Learn their consumer brands. Print out a list, carry it to the grocery & avoid their trash like the plague.

    People who build or remodel should include a contract clause to prevent the builder from using Georgia-Pacific building products or Stainmaster carpet.

  7. Jay Alt says:

    The statement by the government is broad enough to include both types of damage. This is not surprising considering the Rudd/Gillard support for climate action.

    But I look for initial action to be more limited. An immediate concern is to prevent more huge cargo vessels from running aground on the reefs and pulverizing them. Also to keep runoff to a minimum. Studies show the reef has been in decline for many decades. Much of the damage comes from silt, fertilizer and other human additions to river waters.

  8. H&C says:

    The Koch brothers are the force for good.
    Capitalism rules, not Croni Cap.
    Take that to George Soros, the man with the black hat!

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    You’ve stopped taking your medication again, haven’t you?

  10. John Hollenberg says:

    Fascinating and frightneing photo, article and video on methane bubbles trapped in frozen lakes: