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Warning: Koch Kool-Aid Impairs Ability to Perceive Reality

Franz Matzner

Posted March 28, 2014 in Curbing Pollution, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming, The Media and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Black is white.  Left is right.  Up is down. Clean energy jobs and healthy air are partisan issues.  Welcome to the world of the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers and their big polluter allies – a reality in which millions of dollars are spent to force feed the public a dangerous brand of mind-altering media slurry.

Their goal? To convince the American public that the rug should be pulled out from under clean energy businesses while continuing handouts totaling in the billions to the biggest, most polluting industries on the planet, which include their own companies.  As the Senate begins next week to debate the fate of the nation’s clean energy tax incentives, which expired last year, our elected leaders will have to decide whether to drink the Koch Kool-Aid or “just say no.”

Below are seven indisputable facts that show just how empty the rhetoric from the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers and their friends really is:

Reinstating Tax Credits is Key to Clean Energy Growth: The wind Production Tax Credit, Investment Tax Credit, and energy efficiency tax credits that Congress allowed to expire last year are essential to the continued growth of clean energy.  By extending these credits, Congress could ensure clean energy industries continue thriving and creating jobs for generations to come. 

100 Years of Big Oil Handouts: Why doesn’t the fossil fuel industry worry about expired energy tax incentives? Because unlike tax credits for renewables and energy efficiency, big oil’s century-old handouts are permanent.  That’s right, at the same time the Koch brothers rail against continued support for emerging technologies, big oil and coal continue to collect billions in subsidies every year whether or not Congress passes legislation to extend clean energy tax credits and incentives.     

Clean Energy Has Bipartisan Support: The Koch brothers and their friends at Americans for Prosperity would like the public to believe that energy can be used as a wedge issue to divide America.  But talk to a farmer who leases her land for wind generation, or a homeowner who’s installed solar panels on his house, and you won’t hear the words “Republican” or “Democrat.” You’ll hear about the benefits of homegrown clean energy and cost savings. That’s why 144 Members of Congress—Republican, Democrat and Independent alike—signed letters urging fellow lawmakers to support continuing key tax credits for renewable energy.  

80% of Wind Energy Comes from Republican Districts: The Koch brothers may want to paint the support for wind energy as partisan, but the fact is that wind installations are largely in rural, Republican districts across the nation. 

The Public Supports Energy Efficiency:  You’d think everyone could get behind preventing energy waste. It turns out, that’s true.  According to a national survey conducted by National Association of Electrical Manufacturers (NEMA), the American public strongly supports energy efficiency. Three-quarters support public funding for energy efficiency technology and programs. Energy Efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, most readily available energy the nation has—it’s time to give the people what they want.

We All Breathe the Same Air: Pollutants like mercury, arsenic, carbon, and particulates don’t recognize state borders or congressional districts. Nor do the serious health impacts to our children and communities.  All Americans deserve clean air, regardless of what party they belong to or where they live.    

Koch Industries is one of the top 15 biggest air polluters in the country: It’s no wonder their allies are targeting members of Congress who champion clean energy that cuts pollution and threatens the ability of the Koch brothers and their friends to continue business as usual.

In short, we urge Congress to reinstate the full suite of clean energy provisions that expired at the end of last year so that every American can continue to reap the benefits of the cleaner air, better jobs, and stronger economy they deserve.

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Comments

JakeMar 30 2014 05:48 PM

Big oil pays probably the highest tax rates of any American company. Pull up the income statements of ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, etc. You will see that their effective global tax rates are all right around 50%. If there are other global corporations paying that much, I haven't found them yet.

It's tough cllaim massive subsidies with a straight face when the companies you are whining about already pay the highest tax rates.

It is renewables that receive the biggest subsidies per unit of energy, by far. Electric vehicles receive the most. Not only do they get direct tax subsidies, they also don't have to pay any road taxes to help maintain our roads, and in many areas get to drive in the express lanes. THAT is a subsidy.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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