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How the Koch Brothers Mess With the Texas Environment (Revised)

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mary Bell Lockhart       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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I'm submitting this article as a revision to my previous one of the same name because, since posting that article, I learned more about how Koch Industries manipulated the oil commodity market.

Remember the old saying "What's good for business is good for Texas?"   Perhaps that old saw just won't cut it anymore. The "Billionaire Brothers Koch" apparently believe that what's good specifically for THEIR business is good for YOU, Mr and Ms Texan.

 

Koch Industries, the second largest privately held US corporation, has subsidiaries in all but a few states. They earn $100 billion each year marketing a wide array of products.   Subsidiaries are all over Texas, including Flint Hills Resources, Koch Pipeline Company, INVISTA, Georgia-Pacific, Koch Supply & Trading, Koch Carbon, Koch Pulp & Paper Trading, Koch Agriculture Company (including the Matador Ranch), Koch Chemical Technology Group, and Koch Nitrogen Company.

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They refine and supply oil, gas and chemicals (with a web of pipelines and terminals in every major Texas city), fabrics like nylon, spandex and polyester polymers (e.g., STAINMASTER - carpet and COOLMAX - fabric), construction materials like wallboard, pulp, paper and tissue, and cattle and horses.   Furthermore, they trade commodities and derivatives in financial markets.

 

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To distort the information base from which public policy is derived, the Koch brothers have created and/or helped fund foundations and "think tanks" like the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Institute for Policy Innovation, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  

 

But that's not all:   They've injected their ideology into public institutions of higher education such as the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia.   Recently, Charles Koch donated $1.5 million to Florida State University's economics program with strings attached allowing him approval of professors hired.   Individually and through the Association of Private Enterprise Education, the Kochs fund dozens of university programs with similar strings, such as a focus on specific research benefiting their industries and installing "pre-trained," industry-friendly professors.

 

But that's not all:   They have funded and informed a variety of political advocacy groups, their "boots on the ground," to spread the corporate ideology across the land -- e.g., Americans for Prosperity, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Citizens for the Environment, FreedomWorks, the Independent Women's Forum and, most recently, tea party groups.

 

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But that's not all:   After the Citizens United Supreme Court decision awarding 1st Amendment personhood rights to corporations, in 2010 Koch Industries directly enlisted their 50,000 employees into political action on behalf of KOCHPAC, supplying them with lists of favored candidates for whom it was "suggested" they campaign and vote.   Through this and through campaign and "outside" funding, they succeeded in electing tea party Republicans who are currently wrecking havoc on our state and nation.

 

The public policies that benefit Koch Industries stretch too far across the political spectrum to cover in one article.   However, prime policy goals are the rollback of environmental and safety standards, the weakening of environmental enforcement and prevention of citizen action against polluters.

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I'm a retired public health worker focused these days on supporting a variety of progressive issues, such as criminal justice reform, energy efficiency, environmental protection, universal health care, civil rights, and worldwide peace and (more...)
 

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