Billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch were stopped today. The Keystone XL oil pipeline will meet its end today in a Washington DC press conference. The pipeline would’ve been one of the largest oil developments in American history. The pipeline would’ve destroyed American homes, farmlands and sensitive ecosystems along the nearly 2,000-mile path from Northwest Canada and through six U.S. states to the Gulf of Mexico.
But it also represented a win for brothers Koch, who’ve used their net worth to influence politicians and the media to support policies that would make them richer.
The Koch brothers helped fund and start the Tea Party group, Americans for Prosperity. It’s Nebraska chapter has actively promoted and organized around the Keystone pipeline despite numerous concerns voiced by the Republican governor of Nebraska and thousands of Cornhusker residents. Many activists in our Koch Brothers Exposed network have said they’ve seen Americans for Prosperity commercials in their communities supporting the pipeline.
The Koch brothers have a profit and greed motive behind the pipeline too. The Kochs’ subsidiary company admits on its website that it is among Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters. Throughout the public hearings and process behind the Keystone pipeline’s formation, the Koch brothers have smeared journalists writing about their Keystone agenda. The Kochs and their Congressional allies stonewalled lawmakers when they began asking too many questions.
What are the Kochs hiding? They won’t even answer questions from Joel Francis, a college student and military veteran who’s passionate about protecting the environment.
There have been many cases of legal misconduct behind the Keystone XL pipeline like cost miscalculations and conflicts of interests. For years, the state department had one person handling the entire $7 billion project who virtually outsourced oversight to an unaccountable consultant company.
Peer review and independent analysis of the pipeline’s claims have exposed deception and legally corrupt tactics used to justify the project. The Canadian company building it is inflating the project’s value. Gas prices in the Midwest will be higher, and the pipeline won’t create jobs as advertised. Media Matters has documented the full spin campaign.
The Koch brothers’ echo chamber has also had devastating effects on popular programs like Social Security. We’ve been producing videos and activism that illustrate how the Koch brothers use their wealth to write script and set the goals for politicians, activists and influentials to follow. The Kochs use their wealth to launch think tanks, family foundations and nonprofit organizations to foment policies that make the Koch brothers richer.
This case has a different ending and one that puts people over profit. Organized people beat organized money and that’s reason to have hope as we confront the Kochs in 2012.