Koch Industries Funding Fight Against Climate Change Law, Via Subsidiary

The Yes on 23 Committee, a.k.a. the California Jobs Initiative, a.k.a. the November ballot initiative Proposition 23 which would suspend AB32, California’s climate change law, became $2 million richer yesterday. The funding came through $1 million donation from Flint Hills Resources, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, and another $1 million by another oil refiner, Tesoro, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Flint Hills Resources, based in Wichita, Kansas, is an oil refiner and chemical supply company. Katie Stavinoha, a spokesperson for Flint Hills Resources, told Triple Pundit that the company made the $1 million donation to Yes on 23 because it believes that “implementation of AB32 will cause significant job losses and higher energy costs in the state of California and sets a bad precedent for future regulation in other states and by the Federal government.”

Koch Industries, also based in Wichita, and one of the largest private companies in the world, also owns two pipeline companies and a number of firms outside petroleum, including makers of chemicals, polymers and fertilizers. Oh, and paper. Georgia-Pacific is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary.

Run by brothers David and Charles Koch, Koch Industries has a deep record in fighting any legislation that seeks to boost environmental regulations. As we’ve reported, it does this by funding initiatives such as Prop 23, as well as supporting think-tanks and political groups who oppose regulation. (The New Yorker recently ran an expose on the firm.)

Jobs Debate

Tesoro and Valero, also a major funder of the ballot initiative, also claim that implementing the climate change law, which strives to reduce California’s emissions of greenhouse gasses to 1990 levels by the year 2020, will hurt business and cost jobs—claims that have been refuted by a number of independent studies. And Google’s green energy czar William Wiehl says that AB32 has already helped create 500,000 cleantech jobs in California.  If Prop 23 passes, those jobs would be threatened.

Calif. Governor Schwarzenegger, who signed AB32 into law in 2006, has hedged on the topic a bit, suggesting that implementing some parts of the law should be done more slowly. But he opposes Proposition 23.

When asked how AB32 could impact Flint Hills’ operations, Stavinoha noted that the company, while it does not have direction operations in California, does have affiliates that operate there.

Freelance writer Mary Catherine O'Connor finds that a growing number of companies are proving the ways that they can make good financially, socially and environmentally (as the triple bottom line theory suggests).With that in mind, she contributes to Triple Pundit, as well as to Earth2Tech and other pubs focused on sustainability. She also writes The Good Route, an Outside Magazine blog that addresses the intersection of sustainability and the active/outdoor life.To find out more, or to reach her, go to www.mcoconnor.com.