Wisconsin, Koch Brothers, Power Plants and the Politics of Climate Denial

February 28, 2011

NBC Nightly news was one of many outlets that has picked up on a little noticed part of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s program, that might benefit the billionaire Koch brothers, key funders of the anti science movement.

The Wisconsin State Journal explains:

Assembly Democrats tried but failed Wednesday to prevent Gov. Scott Walker from selling state-owned power plants without bids amid growing concerns by Democrats that the owners of a multi-billion dollar oil-and-gas company are driving the governor’s legislative agenda.

That suspicion grew Wednesday after Walker was secretly recorded revealing his strategy for pushing through his anti-union budget repair bill during a 20-minute phone conversation with a blogger who purported to be David Koch, executive vice president of the Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries.

The defeated amendment, which would have required that the sale be approved by the Public Service Commission, is among dozens likely to be shot down by the Assembly’s Republican majority.

The $43 billion Koch Industries, which Koch owns with his brother, Charles, includes numerous energy-related enterprises, including a natural gas pipeline, refineries and a company that supplies coal to Wisconsin power plants.

The Christian Science Monitor adds:

Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries, with estimated revenues of $100 billion, is one of the largest privately-held corporations in the United States, with major involvement in energy-related businesses, including the refining and distribution of petroleum products, chemicals, and fertilizers. One of its subsidiaries is the Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper company. The company was founded in 1925 by Fred Koch, father of George and David.

In recent years, their political targets have been the cap-and-trade climate bill, the health-care reform act, and the economic stimulus package.

Company officials have had to fend off suggestions that Koch might benefit from a provision in Walker’s budget bill that would allow the governor to sell off publicly-owned power plants in Wisconsin without first soliciting bids.

The documentary film, Astroturf Wars:How Corporate America Faked a Grassroots Revolution, ties oil billionaire David Koch closely to the Tea Party movement.  In this clip, Billionaire David Koch addresses a group of supposedly independent, self funding Tea Party activists in an “Americans for Prosperity” gathering.

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8 Responses to “Wisconsin, Koch Brothers, Power Plants and the Politics of Climate Denial”

  1. bluecloud9 Says:

    The Koch brothers really have their fingers in the pie.

    Know that Climate Prgress are tracking this issue, but it’s worth metioning here. The Gurardian covered a story today about the so-called “End of the climate change war”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/feb/27/can-these-scientists-end-climate-change-war

    Koch funded research at the university of Berkeley is about to become public. I can just imagine the result. This from Climate Progress:

    http://climateprogress.org/2011/02/14/exclusive-richard-muller-charles-koch-judith-curry-and-the-implosion-of-the-berkeley-earth-surface-temperature-study/

    Truly exasperating stuff.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      wait and see.
      Someone who has seen the early results tells me that it’s not looking very different than the existing temp data.
      We should also see if this group is going to engage in “Science by Press Release”, or submit their results to a peer review process before releasing them.

      • BlueRock Says:

        > Someone who has seen the early results tells me that it’s not looking very different than the existing temp data.

        That would be the expected results – because adding thousands of additional weather stations / data points (which I believe is their main selling point) is unlikely to make any significant difference to results.

        However, why have they chosen Judith Curry as the one, token climate scientist? Of all the scientists they could have picked, they chose one who is… ummm… ‘provocative’ with her (evidence-free) accusations against other climate scientists. Or as Gavin Schmidt described her, “a conduit for false statements”.

        If this turns out to be something other than another noise factory to confuse and cast doubt on the science, I’ll be amazed. The Kochs don’t hand out money without getting some return….


  2. [...] Centrum för kampen är Madison, Wisconsin. Med hjälp av massiva penninginsatser från oljebröderna Koch valdes i höstas den högerradikale Scott Walker till Wisconsins guvernör. Den första gentjänsten han lovade dessa bröder var att tacka nej till federala bidrag till att byg… [...]


  3. [...] Kochs have enormous investments in fossil fuel energy, and many have questioned whether special provisions in proposed Wisconsin legislation are configured to benefit the Kochs specifically, at the expense of Wisconsin tax [...]


  4. [...] to directly benefit from the provision in the bill that gives the governor the ability to make no bid sales of power plants.  The pressure that Walker referred to was aimed at both the Democratic senators and the public [...]


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