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.
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.
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.