Koch Industries, the privately held, Wichita, KS-based oil & gas giant, was “honored” last week by the renewable energy advocacy group Repower America with its “Snake Oil Award.” Said Repower America Campaign Manager Dave Boundy, “Not only do they pollute our environment, they also pollute our democracy by funding climate denial groups that work to mislead and confuse Americans.” Repower America coupled the award with a new Web site devoted to the company.
Koch’s list of activities is long and impressive. The environmental group Greenpeace has documented the company’s funding, along with ExxonMobil, of a host of organizations working to slow or halt action on climate change. Koch was also the subject of a recent lengthy New Yorker investigative piece, as well as a YouTube video concerning the role of company co-owner and billionaire David Koch in organizing the Tea Party movement.
To date, the company has operated largely in the shadows—David Koch is fond of describing it as “the largest company you’ve never heard of”–but that seems to be changing. It will be interesting to see the effect of sunlight, supposedly the best disinfectant, on its massive, ambitious, and heretofore generally hidden effort to influence America’s energy policy.