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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/30/13

The Kochs, Profits, and Mother Earth

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Unfortunately, we once again find ourselves debating an issue whose outcome has long ago been determined. The Koch boys, looking to profit dearly and sending "crumbs" to those weak legislators willing to sell their integrity for mere sums of $20,000 and less, are trying to stay hidden in the process, but investigation into the matter shows they are actually at the forefront in getting this project approved. They have donated millions to Republican candidates and conservative movements, bankrolling groups involved in Tea Party causes and in campaigns to deny climate-change science and the need for cleaner energy.

"The pipeline and the legislation that supports it will enable the oil companies to charge American consumers more for their gasoline, while increasing carbon pollution and endangering precious water supplies," Representative Waxman said during an Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing. "We know who will lose. We also need to find out who will benefit."

He is actually exposing the Kochs and their tea party followers for what they truly are -- liars!

In recent months Koch Industries Inc., the business conglomerate run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has repeatedly told a U.S. Congressional committee and the news media that the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline has "nothing to do with any of our businesses."

But the company has told Canadian energy regulators a different story.

In 2009, Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, an Alberta-based subsidiary of Koch Industries, applied for--and won--"intervenor status" in the National Energy Board hearings that led to Canada's 2010 approval of its 327-mile portion of the pipeline. The controversial project would carry heavy crude 1,700 miles from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.

In the form it submitted to the Energy Board, Flint Hills wrote that it "is among Canada's largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters. Consequently, Flint Hills has a direct and substantial interest in the application" for the pipeline under consideration.

To be approved as an intervenor, Flint Hills had to have some degree of "business interest" in Keystone XL, according to information from InsideClimate News. Intervenors are granted the highest level of access in hearings, with the option to ask questions. The Energy Board approved Canada's segment of the pipeline with little opposition, and Flint Hills did not exercise its right to speak.

Koch Industries did not reply to questions about what it meant when it told Canadian regulators it had a "direct and substantial interest" in the Keystone XL. But after InsideClimate News reported that Koch Industries was well positioned to benefit from the pipeline, its representatives complained of media bias and denied to Reuters that it had any interest in Keystone XL.

Any inquiries to Koch or Flint Hills were directed to their attorneys, who refused to get back.

One of the misconceptions told the non-caring American public is we need this pipeline in order to increase the supply of oil, thus driving down the costs to the consumer.

In reality, a 2009 market analysis conducted for TransCanada, the Alberta-based company that hopes to build the pipeline, projected that it would actually increase the price per barrel to around $3.00, at minimum. The study went on to indicate that Canada's petroleum producers would benefit most from the price hike. They predicted an increase of $2 Billion to $3.9 Billion in 2013. They also went to state the entire industry, including refineries and shipping businesses where the Koch boys are heavily concentrated, would also profit.    

Koch Industries earns an estimated $100 Billion in annual revenue from its network of subsidiaries. In addition to it Canadian operation, Koch's Flint Hill subsidiary operates oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, as well as a dozen fuel terminals in the Midwest and Texas. They have been improving their Corpus Christi refinery to be able to handle this more-difficult-to-refine heavy Tar Sands product.

It is estimated the Keystone XL Pipeline would move 900,000 barrels of this heavy crude each day and about 90% would reach refineries, with Koch's Corpus Christi location getting no less than 10% of that.

Refining heavy crudes is much more profitable for refiners because it is cheaper for them to purchase than the light varieties. By buying cheaper oil, it reduces their costs.   They may have to make more capital expenditures, but in the long term those costs will be easily recovered.

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Dennis Kaiser is an author and consultant focusing on individual rights. As a US citizen Dennis is deeply concerned over how our nation has fallen from being productive and full of hope to one where that hope is being stripped from the majority (more...)

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