The oil, gas, and coal industries all support and fund white supremacy and far-right politics.
[Roo Reynolds / CC BY-NC 2.0]
Photo by Susu Jeffrey at 350MN visit to Clearbook MN, June 25, 2013
Editor’s Note: The Minnesota connection:
From Basav Sen’s article:
“Koch Industries is widely known as a major right-wing political donor. It’s also a vast conglomerate that’s deeply intertwined with fossil fuels, with interests in refineries, equipment, engineering, and construction services for petrochemical facilities, gas transportation and storage, and more.”
Koch Industries unfortunately, has a lot more than a toe-hold in Minnesota. The large facility near Red Wing brings in trainloads of tar sands oil in freight trains that cross Wisconsin, trains that can have 100 cars or more. I have seen these ‘black bombs,” as some Wisconsinites call them, lined up at the refinery when driving by. Also at the Enbridge terminus in Clearbook MN oil is transferred to Koch Industries and other groups for further distribution. Read the posting under Basav Sen’s excellent article for more about the Minnesota connections and the role of Enbridge’s Line 3.
“The Enbridge Line 3 pipeline expansion would massively increase greenhouse gas pollution from the dirtiest of all oil sources, tar sands, much of it for transportation fuels.”
Ellen Anderson, Climate Director for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Fossil Fuel Companies Fuel American Fascism
By Basav Sen | OtherWords Scheerpost January 31, 2021
The year 2020 will be remembered in history for a deadly pandemic and a deep economic crisis that touched almost every country on earth. Hopes for a brighter 2021 were one of the few things most people could agree on.
But just six days into the new year, these hopes were rudely shattered by images of far-right white supremacists, incited by an aspiring autocrat refusing to admit his electoral defeat, storming the Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the election.
This fascist putsch was implicitly supported by some elected leaders, including GOP members of Congress who continued to promote the thoroughly debunked falsehood that the 2020 elections were “stolen.” Worse still, there are early indications that some elected officials may have aided the violent mob more directly as well.
But this attempted coup wouldn’t have progressed to this point without large amounts of funding, too. And playing a disproportionately large role among business backers of fascism are fossil fuel companies and their owners and top executives.
My Institute for Policy Studies colleagues Chuck Collins and Omar Ocampo recently documented the top billionaire donors to the Trump campaign. In first place is Kelcy Warren, co-founder and board chair (and until last October, CEO) of Energy Transfer — the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
Trump’s wealthy backers over the years have also included the notorious (and now deceased) coal billionaire Robert Murray, who effectively bribed Trump and his former Energy Secretary Rick Perry to implement a policy agenda that would benefit Murray.
This isn’t a case of a few isolated billionaires backing one extremist politician. It’s a case of an entire industry filling the campaign coffers of politicians who’ve waged war on our democracy. In the 2020 election cycle alone, the oil and gas industries gave some $9.3 million to lawmakers who refused to certify the 2020 election results.
The fourth largest Political Action Committee (PAC) making campaign donations to these coup-supporting politicians is the Koch Industries PAC.
Koch Industries is widely known as a major right-wing political donor. It’s also a vast conglomerate that’s deeply intertwined with fossil fuels, with interests in refineries, equipment, engineering, and construction services for petrochemical facilities, gas transportation and storage, and more.
The industry has also funded far-right hate groups directly.
DonorsTrust, a donor-advised fund that allows wealthy people to make anonymous contributions, has made large donations to multiple hate groups, totaling $5 million in 2019. The Koch Charitable Foundation is a contributor to DonorsTrust and has other organizational ties with them as well.
Unsurprisingly, Donors Trust also donated $5 million in 2019 to climate denial and misinformation groups, such as the Heartland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Climate denial and far-right extremism are two heads of the same monster.
The Koch network, American Petroleum Institute, Chevron, and other fossil fuel organizations all made public statements condemning the violence at the Capitol and supporting certification of the 2020 elections. These were fine as far as they went, but they sound rather like Dr. Frankenstein condemning the monster of his own creation.
Slaying this monster once and for all has to start with ending the culture of legalized bribery and corruption, in which wealthy individuals and corporations can fund far-right extremism inside and outside government, often anonymously.
And just to make sure the monster doesn’t rise again, we need to break the political clout of the fossil fuel industry once and for all.
Basav Sen directs the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Crude Oil and Liquids Pipelines
Line 3 Replacement Program
Construction of the $5.3-billion Canadian portion of the Line 3 Replacement Program is complete and began commercial service in December 2019.
The $2.9-billion U.S. portion of the Line 3 Replacement Program, known as the Line 3 Replacement Project, consists of replacing existing 34-inch pipe with new 36-inch pipe for 13 miles in North Dakota, 337 miles in Minnesota, and 14 miles in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin portion was completed in 2018, while the North Dakota segment was completed in December 2020.
Photo: Badger Herald
In December 2020, construction began on the 337-mile Minnesota portion of the project, the only segment of Line 3 yet to be replaced with new state-of-the-art pipe.
• Type: Crude oil and liquids pipeline
• Status: Complete (Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin); under construction
• Length: 1,031 miles (1,660 km)
• Expected in-service date: December 2019 (Canada); TBD (U.S.)
• Expected initial capacity: 390,000 barrels per day
• Expected to transport: Light, medium and heavy crude
• Estimated capital cost: C$5.3 billion in Canada, US$2.9 billion in the United States
Editor’s Note: This article from June of 2014 shows the Enbridge terminal under construction. The article explains the function of the terminal and how it sends oil to Koch Industries and other sources.
CLEARBROOK — Just a few hundred yards southeast of the small town of Clearbrook stands a grouping of huge, white, silo-like structures. Silos, though, wouldn’t draw protesters. This is Enbridge Energy’s Clearbrook Terminal, and guards are posted…
Written By: Zach Kayser The Bemidji Pioneer
A oil pipeline worker walks near a construction site Tuesday at Enbridge Energy’s Clearbrook Terminal just outside Clearbrook [Minnesota]. The terminal is an intersection for crude oil pipelines from Canada and North Dakota to the Twin Cities and Wisconsin. Construction is underway at the facility for the Line 67 Upgrade Project. Zach Kayser | Bemidji Pioneer
EXCERPTS BELOW Read the full article for more information. Click on title above to view.
The Clearbrook terminal is an oil pipeline intersection, where the oil in Enbridge pipelines coming from the tar sands fields of Canada and the Bakken field in North Dakota is transferred to the 304-mile MinnCan/Koch pipeline system that leads to refineries in the Twin Cities.
Palmer said a key reason the huge white tanks are there is to act as a place to temporarily store the crude oil bound to travel south through MinnCan, so the transfer process doesn’t hold up the oil destined to continue east to Superior, Wis. The tanks hold 1.2 million barrels of crude total, and an average of 320,000 barrels per day are pumped south from the Clearbrook Terminal to the beginning of the MinnCan/Koch system, separated from Enbridge property by a narrow gravel road and some fencing.
The MinnCan pipeline is also referred to as “The Koch Pipeline” because although owned by the Minnesota Pipe Line Co., the line is operated by Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Pipeline Co., or KPL. KPL, in turn, is an indirect subsidiary of Koch Industries, the immense energy company helmed by Charles and David Koch. The multi-billionaire brothers are often decried as symbols of dark money in politics because of their financing activity through conservative groups such as Americans For Prosperity.
The Kochs are just one of many clients that Enbridge transports oil for, however. Called “shippers,” companies pay Enbridge to pump dozens of very specific types and volumes of oil through their system. Palmer likened the different proprietary types of oil to different brands of soda — the Enbridge tanks this Tuesday held mostly a kind called “light sour blend” — and since different shipments, or “batches,” are going through the same pipe a main concern for Enbridge is preventing these brands of oil from accidentally mixing together.
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