Koch Brothers Are Kings of Alberta Oil Sands Too

Mon, 2010-11-01 18:28Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Koch Brothers Are Kings of Alberta Oil Sands Too

The Tyee notes today that billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch and their company Koch Industries are a major player in Alberta’s dirty oil sands, a fuel source far more polluting than even regular oil.  Leave it to the Koch brothers to gravitate towards (and profit from) the dirtiest sources of energy on the planet - while ignoring investments in cleaner alternatives that could help rescue and stabilize the U.S. economy - and collect love letters from the Tea Party’s “patriots” for their efforts. 

Tyee reporter Geoff Dembicki notes the Kochtopus’s role in spawning the fake ‘grassroots’ Tea Party movement, especially through the Koch-filled coffers of Americans For Prosperity, and points to the Kochs’ role in funding the climate denial machine as a key indicator of why the TeaOP is overrun with anti-science sentiment

The looming threat of a TeaOP takeover in Washington - even if exaggerated in its scope - is bad news for science-based policy, particularly in the arena of climate change policy.  With a fresh crop of climate deniers set to assume seats formerly held by moderate Republicans and Democrats, the silly season antics that typically crop up during election time appear to be stuck on auto-repeat for the foreseeable future.

Dembicki details Koch Industries’ role in sponsoring the Tea Party rise, but also probes Koch’s extensive control over Alberta’s filthy oil sands, including this excerpt:

Flint Hills Resources, a wholly-owned Koch subsidiary, operates a Rosemount, Minnesota, refinery dependent on Albertan energy. The Pine Bend Refinery, says the company website, “is among the top processors of Canadian crude in the United States.”

“It was specifically designed to process heavy, sour crude piped in from Canada,” reads a Koch-produced newsletter from last January.

The crude oil Koch refers to comes from northern Alberta, where a substance called bitumen is clawed and steamed from the ground, then cooked at high temperatures or diluted with chemicals. The process creates 82 per cent more carbon emissions than that for conventional oil, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated.

Koch’s Pine Bend Refinery can process 325,000 barrels of crude oil a day. About four-fifths of that comes from Alberta. The refinery, which is connected to Wisconsin by a Koch-owned pipeline, produces up to 40 per cent of that state’s road fuel supply.

Koch Industries worries American climate change legislation will harm its refining operations.

Head over to the Tyee for the rest of Dembicki’s article.

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