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Thursday, 14 November 2013 06:52

Koch "Carbon Bomb" Brothers Could Cash in Billions on Alberta Tar Sands Holdings

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bombtime11 14Climate Change: A Time Bomb for Planet EarthA recent study by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), provides evidence that the Koch Brothers could earn at least $1 billion from Alberta tar sand land holdings (with additional profit from their processing plants and related products and services).  This is despite the unconvincing Koch Brothers claim that they have no personal interest in the pipeline.

That disconnect reflects a larger problem that befuddles the northern section of the Keystone XL Pipeline decision.  Tar sands oil is already flowing into the US and the Koch Brothers are already profiting from it through its conversion into petroleum coke.

Think Progress recently detailed the toxic pollution caused by coke pilings in Detroit and Chicago.  The owners of the processing facilities that turn the tar sand oil into petroleum coke at these two sites are, you guessed it, the Koch Brothers.  The name of the parent company is, hold your gasp, Koch Carbon.

Now, this gets to the issue of the pipelines already flowing with tar sands oils into the US.  Remember that, number one, the northern section of the Keystone XL pipeline will increase the flow and profits from the tar sands oil, but if not built tar sands oil will continue to make its way into the US through existing pipelines.  Major tar sands oil pipeline spills have already occurred in Michigan and Arkansas.  And the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline -- the one Obama approved -- has already needed 125 repairs from faulty pipes, and it hasn't even started flowing yet.

Number two, and this is the important sophistry at work in the original State Department approvel of the new, enhanced northern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the transportation of the heavy crude oil through pipes is not in and of itself a major carbon producer, so a bureaucratic analyst can conclude that the northern pipeline in and of itself will not be a major carbon producer.  The carbon bomb come at either end of the process: primarily in the extraction of tar sands oil in Alberta and in the refining or conversion to petroleum coke at the other end of the pipeline.

It is corporate-owned government prestidigitation: you see the pipeline won't produce carbon, it's just transporting oil.  (That's not to say it won't produce oil spills, damage the environment, release toxins when damaged, harm wildlife, etc. The Enbridge pipeline spill in Michigan, according to the CBC, "is the largest onland spill in the history of the U.S., and has already cost Enbridge more than $1 billion.")

The carbon bomb comes from the increased processing that will result from a northern pipeline with more capacity; in short the size of the carbon bomb will be increased because more tar sands oil will be able to be extracted and carried efficiently (otherwise more train tankers and land transport options will need to be used, which will slow the processing and profit down).

The website Kochcash.com comments:

Progressive think tank International Forum on Globalization (IFG) released a report investigating how owners of Koch Industries, Charles and David Koch, will benefit should President Obama allow the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built. The report, entitled Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the  Keystone XL Pipeline, reveals Koch Industries likely substantial interest in the controversial pipeline. Staggering numbers punctuate the report; in recent years it has been reported that the Kochs hold up to 2 million acres in Alberta, could earn roughly $100 billion in profits from the project, and have spent more than $50 million on congress and think tanks that heavily push for the pipeline.

The Kochs have long been one of the largest players in the tar sands region of Alberta, Canada. The report connects the Kochs’ 50 year history and large footprint in the Canadian tar sands to the current debate about the pipeline. Since the Kochs are big players, it stands to reason they will be big winners when the pipeline gets built. IFG crunched the numbers and puts forth a compelling answer to why the Kochs have used their influence networks to push for fast-tracking of pipeline – $100 billion in potential profits.

As quoted in CommonSenseCanadian.com,

"The Kochs have repeatedly claimed that they have no interest in the Keystone XL Pipeline, this report shows that is false.” Said Nathalie Lowenthal-Savy, a researcher with IFG. “We noticed Koch Funded Tea Party members and think tanks pushing for the pipeline. We dug deeper and found $100 billion in potential profit, $50 million sent to organizations supporting the pipeline, and perhaps 2 million acres of land. That sounds like an interest to me.” 

The report also asserts that the more money the Kochs and their ilk make from accelerating climate change beyond the tipping point, the more funds they will have to continue lobbying to increase the impact of their destruction of planet earth.

The concentrated wealth of the fossil fuel industry -- ignominiously represented by the Koch Brothers -- may be the ultimate precipitator or the demise of life as we know it on planet earth.

(Photo: DKShots)