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Koch Bros Group On The EPA: ‘At Least The CIA Isn’t Torturing Americans’


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Koch Group On The EPA: At Least The CIA Isnt Torturing Americans


The American Energy Alliance is testing out a new tactic for fighting the Environmental Protection Agency: comparing the agencys proposed regulations to torture tactics committed against terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

In a short blog post and comic posted Friday, the pro-fossil fuel non-profit said the EPAs proposed limits on smog-forming pollutants and carbon dioxide were comparable to tactics outlined in the Senate Intelligence Committees recently released report investigating the CIAs use of enhanced interrogation techniques in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In one instance, the group implied the EPAs attempts to reduce pollution were even worse than torture, claiming the regulations would kill American jobs, raise energy costs, and crush small businesses.

ts clear that the CIA isnt the only government agency engaged in torture, the post read. At least the CIA isnt torturing Americans.

The American Energy Alliance a group with deep ties to the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch called out two proposed EPA regulations at the center of the so-called EPA Torture Report: newly proposed limits on ground-level ozone pollution (the main ingredient of urban smog) and proposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants.

Meanwhile, media reports surrounding the Senate Intelligence Committees actual torture report focused on two gruesome details: the forced feeding of inmates of puréed food through their anuses, and that more than 20 percent of detainees subject to torture tactics were wrongfully held.

With both the proposed ozone and carbon regulations, the American Energy Alliance has claimed they would be extremely costly to businesses, predicting trillions of dollars in losses for both the manufacturing and coal industries. Those purported job losses amount to the torture of American citizens, the group argues.

The CIAs torture of detainees at Guantamo Bay reportedly included threatening to kill and rape detainees mothers, performing mock burials on inmates, use of insects, sleep deprivation, and use of diapers.

There is reason to doubt the dramatic monetary and job losses predicted by the American Energy Alliance and other industry groups as a result of the proposed EPA regulations. For one, both regulations are in proposed stages, meaning the final rules could look drastically different than they are now. For another, industry groups have been vastly overestimating the cost of environmental regulations like these since the EPA first began issuing regulation of this kind.

There is also reason to doubt that the CIAs torture tactics on Guantanamo inmates actually did anything to prevent future terrorist attacks in the United States. As per the Senate Intelligence Committees report: At no time did the CIAs coercive interrogation techniques lead to the collection of imminent threat intelligence, such as the hypothetical ticking time bomb information that many believe was the justification for the use of these techniques.

The EPA predicts substantial environmental and public health benefits as a result of both the ozone and carbon regulations. For the strictest ozone standard, the EPA predicts savings of up to $38 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 65 parts per billion, savings derived from prevented illnesses, missed sick days, and other problems triggered by smog. For the carbon rule, the EPA estimates public health and climate benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion per year in 2030.

In contrast, the CIAs torture program reportedly cost well over $300 million in non-personnel costs, including funding for the CIA to construct and maintain detention facilities, and millions of dollars in cash payments to foreign government officials.


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Why doesnt the American Energy Alliance come straight out and accuse the EPA of being both terrorists and waterboarders?

The AEA and IERs whole "reliable and cheap energy is the best way to reduce poverty worldwide" angle bugs me. Expecting the public to be a bit gullible is one thing but expecting them to be complete idiots is another.

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Why doesnt the American Energy Alliance come straight out and accuse the EPA of being both terrorists and waterboarders?

The AEA and IERs whole "reliable and cheap energy is the best way to reduce poverty worldwide" angle bugs me. Expecting the public to be a bit gullible is one thing but expecting them to be complete idiots is another.

And now they're suing California to keep their donations secret:

Koch Brothers Sue California to Keep Donations Secret

By Joel Rosenblatt

December 12, 2014 7:30 PM EST

Billionaires David and Charles Koch, who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars helping Republicans, are suing to stop the grotesque backlash theyd face from being forced to disclose donors to their nonprofit group.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the target of their lawsuit, says she isnt trying to expose contributors to the Kochs Americans for Prosperity Foundation. The state is required by law to collect the information and also to keep it secret, according to her spokesman.

The Kochs accuse Harris of violating free speech rights protecting anonymous donations by attempting to force nonprofit groups to disclose a federal tax form identifying donors. The brothers said death threats that are serious and often horrific lead them to fear that revealing the donations will put them and their families at risk.

David Koch and Charles Koch have faced unrelenting threats and attacks via social media, phone calls, e-mail and protests outside their homes and places of business due to their work with the Arlington, Virginia-based foundation, according to their complaint in federal court in Los Angeles.

Harris, a Democrat who won re-election November, is considered a possible candidate for governor at the end of her term.

Harris helped obtain a $1 million settlement in October 2013 with two Arizona-based political groups that California election regulators said had ties to Charles and David Koch. The agreement resolved claims the groups violated California campaign finance laws by concealing the origin of $15 million in donations to conservative causes in the 2012 election.

The Kochs cite the settlement in their complaint, arguing they were wrongly linked to the political groups.

Harris Letter

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation was told by Harris in 2013 that its 2011 registration was incomplete because its Schedule B tax form didnt include the names and addresses of its contributors, according to the Dec. 8 lawsuit. The request came out of the blue, and after the foundation had registered in California annually since 2001 without making such disclosures, the Kochs said.

Harris doubled down on her demand in October, threatening to suspend the foundations registration, revoke its tax exemption and fine it, according to the complaint.

David Beltran, a spokesman for Harris, said the foundation hadnt previously received a letter notifying it of the requirement because the attorney generals unit that oversees nonprofits has been chronically underfunded.

This is simply the enforcement of a law that all charities are required to comply with and has long been on the books, Beltran said Friday in an e-mail.

Beltran said California sends 60 letters each month to charities which have filed missing or incomplete Schedule B forms.

The case is Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Harris, 14-cv-09448, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).


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Kansas academic petitions judge to keep Koch brothers correspondence sealed

University of Kansas students say benefactors for founder and director of the Center for Applied Economics are violating academic principles

Ed Pilkington in New York

Tuesday 23 December 2014 10.40 EST

An academic at the University of Kansas has petitioned a judge to prevent his correspondence with his benefactors, foundations set up by the billionaire Koch brothers, from being made public under freedom of information laws.

Dr Arthur Hall, founder and director of the Center for Applied Economics at the universitys business school in Lawrence, Kansas, is locked in a bitter fight with students who want to extract the documents as part of their exploration of potential conflicts of interest involving the Kochs. In a lawsuit lodged with the district court of Douglas County, Hall argues that disclosure of the emails and letters would cause him immediate and irreparable harm and violate the principles of academic freedom.

For their part, the students say it is Charles and David Koch who are violating academic principles by using their vast wealth the brothers own the second-largest private company in the US and are estimated to be worth more than $70bn to inject their distinctive brand of conservatism into an independent seat of learning. Hall once worked as chief economist for Koch Industries lobbying arm, the Public Sector Group.

According to the KU group that is leading the freedom of information request, Students for a Sustainable Future, Halls center has received $1.4m in financial support from Koch foundations since it was set up in 2004.

A date has yet to be scheduled for a full hearing on the dispute. In the meantime, Douglas County district court judge Robert Fairchild has placed a temporary block on the documents release pending his ruling.

The spat began in April when a group called Students for a Sustainable Future issued a request for documents under the states open records laws. That request covers all correspondence between Hall and a plethora of Koch entities including Koch Industries and charitable foundations in the name of both brothers over the hiring of the centers staff and the ongoing funding of the center.

The university set a fee of $1,800 for retrieving the documents, which the students duly raised $1,000 from the Kansas chapter of the American Association of University Professors and the rest from local donations. Earlier this month the university indicated that it had assembled the requested documents and was obliged to release them to the students under Kansass open records legislation prompting Halls petition for an injunction.

Schuyler Kraus, a senior at the university who runs Students for a Sustainable Future, said the records request was designed to uphold academic integrity by ensuring there have been no conflicts of interest in the way Hall was hired or runs the center. As an employee of a public institution, he should be fully accountable to students and the public, and these emails and documents should be fully available, she said.

Hall confirmed to the Guardian that the Koch empire has been helping to cover his legal fees in bringing the lawsuit, and he called the Kochs themselves his benefactors. He said the students attempt to obtain the documents was an invasive assault on my private freedom.

Halls lawsuit says: The disclosure of documents would have a widespread chilling effect on academic freedom within the academic community.

This is not the first time that suspicions and allegations of conflict of interest have been raised in relation to the millions of dollars spent by the Koch brothers every year on university grants. In September, documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity showed that the industrialists tried to impose constraints on Florida State Universitys economics department in order to encourage teaching of radical market-oriented economics.

Through his work at the Center for Applied Economics, Hall has become a leading advocate of aggressive tax cutting in Kansas. He helped devise the platform of the states Republican governor, Sam Brownback, who has pushed through one of the most radical tax-slashing programs of any state in the country.

Hall acknowledged his basic economic beliefs were the same as the Kochs: We have an agreement that markets are powerful instruments of progress, he said. But he denied his benefactors wielded any direct influence on his work. There are no stipulations about anything I have to work on. I receive funding from them but I am free to choose my projects and to hire and fire as I see fit.


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