Ernst’s $19 Million from Koch Explains Why Keystone is Republicans’ Top Priority


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Newly elected Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa argued, as the official Republican respondent to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union speech, that Americans’ top priorities are advanced by approving the “Keystone jobs bill.” Keystone XL is a pipeline that would create up to fifty permanent positions while dangerously exacerbating greenhouse gas emissions and possibly doubling the $100 billion fortune of the world’s two wealthiest men, Charles and David Koch.

Outspending all other oil companies and individual donors to advance an agenda of “economic freedom“, the Koch network spent at least $19 million to elect Ernst.

With  more land leased in Canada’s tar sands territory than Exxon, Chevron, and Conoco combined, the billionaire brothers’ huge financial interest makes them uniquely exposed to Keystone’s failure. The Kochs continue to deny their interest in Keystone—as exposed in IFG’s report, Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb—but the brothers’ political spending patterns indicate otherwise.

Ernst’s Emphasis on Keystone Signals Kochs’ Capture of GOP

Topping a long list of 2014 candidates supported by Koch Cash, Ernst embodies the Kochs’ strategy of employing simple stories about average Americans in order to prioritize policies that ultimately only enrich themselves, despite already having more money than Bill Gates. Koch candidates have changed conservatism, taken over the Republican Party, and now control the Congress with a proven willingness to use the power of the purse to shutdown the federal government over Keystone.

For more than a minute in a speech lasting less than ten, Ernst spoke of Keystone as a “bipartisan infrastructure project” (see full video here). Somewhat surprisingly, the President’s only mention of pipelines was that a single pipeline’s passage was not enough for him to take any infrastructure bill seriously, suggesting a a dangerous openness by Obama to approve Keystone.

Keystone expects to employ a few thousand workers for two years at most while being built, while Koch could benefit one million times more than the average worker constructing the pipeline, according to IFG’s report. Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb also explains how the pipeline would exacerbate emissions and accelerate a global climate catastrophe.

“Kochenomics” means more desperate people on a dying planet.

Koch greed feeds on Americans’ desperation due to record income inequality, especially in rural areas.  Simultaneously, the brothers’ 32 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the ground in Canada must stay put if the world is to keep below an average global temperature increase of 2C degrees, the tipping-point agreed upon by the UN Climate Convention and the IPCC.
Meanwhile, Ernst’s elaboration on the Koch’s agenda avoided any mention of this inevitable intensification of economic inequality and ecological catastrophe.

The direction Koch aims to take America, and thus the world, is toward more desperate people on a dying planet. Kochs’ agenda will only magnify our worst problems, instead of removing the remaining (yet powerful) obstacles blocking the advance of today’s many emerging solutions.

Increasingly, it appears as if our only option is to isolate these two selfish idiots.

IFG intends to play its part by killing Keystone, bursting the Kochs’ carbon bubble, and helping to build a broader movement among all Americans to transition from today’s “Kochenomics” to local, living economies everywhere.

Learn more here.

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