Koch brothers helped derail climate change with lawmaker pledge

Through Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs pushed a pledge to vote against any legislation not offset by tax cut

Topics: Koch Brothers, David Koch, Barack Obama, Americans for Prosperity, Climate Change, ,

A new two-year study by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University demonstrates how the Koch brothers have helped to derail climate change legislation. The conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which the Kochs bankroll, pushed lawmakers to sign a pledge not to vote for “legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.”

From the study:

[I]n 2011 and 2012, Koch Industries Public Sector LLC, the lobbying arm of Koch Industries, advocated for the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which would have rolled back the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could regulate greenhouse gases. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and co-signed by 92 Republicans (and three Democrats), 61 of whom signed an anti-climate tax “pledge.” An economist with the American Council for Capital Formation — a nonprofit group that receives Koch money — testified about that same bill before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Margo Thorning told members of the House in February 2011 that regulation of greenhouse gas emissions “makes little economic or environmental sense,” according to her testimony.

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Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, who first flagged the study, explains that “Since most solutions to the problem of greenhouse-gas emissions require costs to the polluters and the public, the pledge essentially commits those who sign to it to vote against nearly any meaningful bill regarding global warning, and acts as yet another roadblock to action.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post misquoted the pledge.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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