Koch Brothers, Err Heartland Inst. 6th Annual Conf. for Climate Change Deniers

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Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) & Koch Brothers, Err Heartland Institute 6th Annual Conference for Climate Change Deniers

The sixth annual international conference of climate change deniers, brought to you by the Koch Brothers, commonly referred to as the Heartland Institute convened Thursday at the Washington Marriot Wardman Park Hotel. There were featured presentations from the likes of Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, which is a so called ‘green movement’ think tank, but in reality it is a Koch brothers front to instigate and spread climate change denial. He of course, argues that humans have a limited to no impact at all on climate change. Michaels stated in his pressentation that public figures are overestimating the extent to which climate change can be attributed to human beings, which in turn is leading to costly, ineffective polices that will not help reverse the warming trend. Michaels, a self-described “luke-warmer,” had his research called into question earlier this year, when Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce committee, asked fellow Republicans to investigate how much of his research funding was coming from the oil industry.

Another of the prominent climate change deniers, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who insists we are in a ‘cooling period’, was set to kick off the event on Thursday, but had to cancel due to a cold. Back on April 21st, 2011, Inhofe told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking has “never poisoned anyone” nor even contaminated groundwater. He also claimed that there was nothing to worry about with fracking. Inhofe’s biggest contributors to his political career are, of course, and I’m sure you guessed it, the oil and gas industry. During the last election cycle in 2010, oil and gas industry companies gave him over $450K alone, even though he wasn’t even up for re-election.

But if there was only a tiny sliver of the scientific perspective on climate change in attendance, it wasn’t for lack on an invitation. Heartland Institute communications director Jim Lakely said it’s a “myth” that only skeptics are invited to the conference. The President of the Pacific Institute, Peter Gleick, who is a scientist who supports the findings behind man made climate change, said he would not consider attending the event. He stated that

“I go to many meetings as it is, and the interesting science is being done elsewhere,” he said on a “pre-buttal” conference call hosted by the Center For American Progress. “This is not a science conference, it’s a political conference. It’s a way for a small community — and I would argue a diminishing community — to get together in a self-support kind of way. There is no science that’s going to be discussed there that’s new or that’s interesting … it’s just not worth a real scientist’s time.”

Heading back to the primary objective, The Heartland Institute is an organization devoted to disclaiming, disinformation, and shooting down any widely accepted scientific data that climate change is being caused in any way by human behaviors. We did a little more research on the Heartland Institute here, probably more so than most have done. We found that during the 1990’s, the Heartland Institute worked with Phillip Morris to question the link between secondhand smoke and health risks. The Heartland Institute also has been linked to Wal-Mart, which has made donations to the Institute which defended Wal-Mart against the treatment of it’s workers. ExxonMobil was also a major contributor until 2008, when ExxonMobil distanced itself from the Institute over concern for it’s image. The Heartland Institute denies any rumors or reports that it is in any way politically affiliated with any political parties, but The Heartland Institute has a web page devoted to the Tea Party none the less.

For those of you whom are unfamiliar with the Tea Party, they are the ones that were responsible for all the protests in 2010 for reform in the guise of “Take Back America”. For all the revelers at these parties and demonstrations, led by the likes of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, I bet they didn’t know who they were the guests of. The primary supporters and bank rollers for the new American Tea Party movement are none other than, you probably guessed it, the Koch Brothers, David and Charles Koch, and Fox’s very own Rupert Murdoch! These far, far, far right wingers, who have been pulling the strings behind closed doors since the Du Pont brothers created the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R., which aimed to take down the New Deal “socialism” of Social Security, the SEC, child labor laws, the John Birch Society-Barry Goldwater assault on J.F.K. and medicare, and now the Koch-Murdoch backed assault on Obama as our “socialist” president.

The Koch’s also support numerous other think tanks to undermine the American people and the American political process, as well as promote climate change deniers science, and think about some serious AstroTurf here when you continue with this list. Some of those other groups include FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, Citizens for a Sound Economy, The Center for Responsive Politics, Cato Institute, Center for Market Processes, later renamed as the Mercatus Center, Concerned Citizens for the Environment, a group to battle proposed regulations to deal with acid rain by the way, American Energy Alliance, a group created to oppose President Clinton’s BTU tax on fossil fuel-based energy, Triad Management, Economic Education Trust, RightOnline, The Heritage Foundation, The Manhatten Institute, The Tax Foundation, Pacific Research Institute, Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment.

Just to give you an example of what they are trying to do, Lisa Thrun, Americans for Prosperity, Buffalo Leader is the plaintiff spearheading a lawsuit against the State of New York, seeking to bounce New York out of the 10 state program Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is the first of it’s kind in the nation for a state level greenhouse gas cap and trade program. Well, according to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries as one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. Koch Industries is also involved in paper mills like Georgia-Pacific, and owns Invista, which makes “Stainmaster” carpet, and “Lycra” fiber, as well as other products, Koch Fertilizer, LLC, one of the world’s largest makers of nitrogen fertilizers, Koch Agricultural Company Matador Cattle Company, Flint Hill Resources LP, which is a major refining and chemicals company, and Koch Pipeline Company LP which owns and operates 4,0000 miles of pipelines for oil, natural gas, and chemicals.

Here is a little background on the Koch Brothers pollution and resource fines:

In 1999, a federal jury found that Koch Industries had stolen oil from government and American Indian lands, had lied about its purchases more than 24,000 times, and was fined $553,504.

– In January 2000, a Koch Industries subsidiary, Koch Pipeline, agreed to a $35 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and the State of Texas. This settlement, including a $30 million civil fine, was incurred for the firm’s three hundred oil spills in Texas and five other states going back to 1990. The spills resulted in more than three million gallons of crude oil leaking into ponds, lakes, streams and coastal waters.

– – Koch pours $800,000 to Bush and Republicans for the 2000 election, funnels up to $20 million into various conservative think tanks and organizations.

– – In the months preceding the presidential elections, the Koch faced a 97-count federal indictment charging it with concealing illegal releases of 91 metric tons of benzene, known to cause leukemia, from its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. After Bush took office in 2001, 88 counts were dropped. Two days before the trial, then-Attorney General Ashcroft agreed to a plea bargain. Koch plead guilty to falsifying documents, all major charges were dropped and the company settled the lawsuit for $20 million, a small part of the possible $350 million in fines. This was the fifth largest ever settlement for criminal environmental prosecutions.

– In 2001, the company reached two settlements with the government. In April, the company reached a $20 million settlement in exchange for admitting to covering up environmental violations at its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. That May, Koch Industries paid $25 million to the federal government to settle a federal lawsuit that found the company had improperly taken more oil than it had paid for from federal and Indian land.

– In June 2003, the US Commerce Department fined Koch Industries subsidiary Flint Hill Resources a $200,000 civil penalty. The fine settled charges that the company exported crude petroleum from the US to Canada without proper US government authorization. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security said from July 1997 to March 1999, Koch Petroleum (later called Flint Hill Resources) committed 40 violations of Export Administration Regulations.

– In 2006, Koch Industries’ subsidiary Flint Hill Resources was fined nearly $16,000 by the EPA for 10 separate violations of the Clean Air Act at its Alaska oil refinery facilities, and required to spend another $60,000 on safety equipment needed to help prevent future violations.

– In 2007, Koch Nitrogen’s plant in Enid, Oklahoma, was listed as the third highest company releasing toxic chemicals in Oklahoma, according to the EPA, ranking behind Perma-Fix Environmental Services in Tulsa and Weyerhaeuser Co. in Valliant. The facility produces about 10% of the US national production of anhydrous ammonia, as well as urea and UAN.

A Koch Industries paper mill is violating the Clean Water Act by pumping out massive amounts of pollution into an Arkansas waterway, according to an EPA enforcement complaint to be filed tomorrow by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Ouachita Riverkeeper.

The complaint alleges that a Georgia-Pacific paper mill on the Coffee Creek in Arkansas – owned by the billionaire Koch Brothers -emits 45 million gallons of paper mill waste including hazardous materials like ammonia, chloride, and mercury each day.

– Greenpeace says that between 1997 and 2008 Koch Industries donated nearly $48 million to groups which doubt or oppose the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

One of the more interesting items I ran across, which supports the theory that they are blocking passage and trying to reduce regulations of any kind comes from the The WatchDog Institute, in which I found that The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is now chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, a San Diego Republican. Issa also happens to be the richest member of Congress with a net worth of $451.1 million, according to a recent Mother Jones review. Issa took control of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in January 2011 and asked companies, nonprofits and industry associations for their guidance on federal regulations. The committee, which includes 23 Republicans and 17 Democrats, has a wide range of powers to investigate both government and industry and to issue subpoenas.The WatchDog Institute drew a link between the committee and the Koch brothers. Due to the oversight staff’s connections to Koch Industries, the Watchdog Institute examined Koch’s campaign contributions to members of the house oversight committee and found that Koch Industries has given more than $130,000 to sitting committee members since 2000, mostly to Republicans. Current Republican committee members received at least $72,750 from Koch Industries in the last election, of which most of whom are freshman, and received at least $42,750. Now talk about having the wolf watch the hen house, come on man!

Of course the theme for the Tea Party less government, less taxes, less corporate regulation, less organized labor, no government safety nets for the poor, unemployed, underprivileged, ill, handicapped, and elderly. Go figure, and of course they want to “Take Back America” from the people, the workers, the environmentalists, the poor, needy, handicapped, elderly, how dare they threaten our profits and livelihood! We’ll my thought’s to them, good riddance, when the truth is finally told, and no one believes their garbage right wing rhetoric anymore and they slowly fade into the sunset, problem is they will re-emerge under the guise of another front group. People, we need to “Take Back America” is right, but not from ourselves for right wing corporate extremists with perverted power schemes, These climate change deniers and crooks whom try and undermine the average American citizen every chance they get, and use us to do their dirty work for them at the same time. Now I don’t know about you, but I find that extremely offensive, unethical, immoral, and a sin against man, the planet, and God him or herself. Don’t let these over empowered hoodlums steal our precious country and planet from us, let’s say no to the Koch Brothers and Rupert Murdoch’s of the world, and let them know that we will not give up without a fight! Peace my friends and fight the good fight!

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