Waxman to Koch Industries: “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Capitalist?”

Michael Giberson

From The Hill’s Energy & Environment blog, “House Dems: Koch brothers could benefit from oil pipeline approval“:

Top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee want to know whether the Koch brothers stand to benefit from the approval of a controversial oil sands pipeline.

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the committee’s ranking Democrat, and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Power subcommittee, called on Republicans on the panel to request documents from Koch Industries detailing how the company might benefit from the pipeline.

Republicans on the committee are holding a hearing Monday on draft legislation that would require President Obama to make a decision on a permit for the project, known as Keystone XL, by Nov. 1.

“We are writing to request that in preparation for the hearing on and markup of this draft legislation, the Committee request documents from Koch Industries relating to the company’s interests in Canadian tar sands and the extent to which it will benefit if the Keystone XL pipeline is constructed,” the Democrats write in a letter sent to committee Republicans Friday.

Later, also from The Hill’s E2 blog, “Koch, GOP fire back at Waxman over oil sands pipeline inquiry“:

Koch Industries and House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans are criticizing Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-Calif.) probe of whether Koch stands to gain from a proposed pipeline to import Canadian oil sands – a project that Republicans hope to expedite with legislation.

… A Koch executive, in a statement Friday afternoon, reiterated that the company has “no financial interest” in the pipeline project, and neither supports nor opposes the pipeline, which would expand U.S. imports from Alberta’s massive oil sands projects.

“Given these facts, we are confused about why Koch is being singled out and inserted into these discussions,” said Philip Ellender, the company’s president for government and public affairs.

However, Friday’s letter from Waxman and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Power Subcommittee, casts a wider net.

They are seeking information about whether Koch or subsidiaries have investments that would benefit from the pipeline, even though they’re not involved in the Keystone project itself.

Specifically, Waxman’s letter to Upton says the committee should seek documents about whether Koch has investments in oil sands or plans to invest, and whether they are involved in production from the oil sands.

A copy of the Waxman letter is posted on the House Energy committee website.

I’m trying to imagine what substantive difference it makes to the law and regulatory policy considerations surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline project whether a Koch Industries-affiliated company is or will be involved in the project, or will indirectly gain from it, or instead BP or Shell or Marathon or Valero or CITGO or one of the other handful of multinational companies involved in refining oil in the United States ends up indirectly or directly benefiting.

Does Mr. Waxman really want to suggest that his opinion on the Keystone XL project depends upon whether or not the companies involved, or their owners, support political causes he doesn’t like?

5 thoughts on “Waxman to Koch Industries: “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Capitalist?”

  1. Well, yeah, as Fat Man said… this is Henry Waxman we’re talking about.

    The man’s an embarrassment to the House, which is saying something.

  2. The Reuters article has three shreds of truth to it http://www.kochind.com/newsroom/news_stories_details.aspx?id=854 (in pdf but whatever, Koch,) Koch Industries’ rep plainly lied about their involvements; however, Waxman asks for ‘documents sufficient to prove’ they lied, rather than disproportionate, undue, etc. advantage. Piping clean down to Corpus Christi refiners’ exchange (hey, it could be Galveston Island) from Alberta seems uneconomic three ways on the face of it.

    Since rather than Demanding For The American Cause, Waxman respectfully requests (for candor) that the Committee request documents, the other shoe hasn’t dropped; but good call on the McCarthyism otherwise. We’re just waiting for the excess of G-men to bust into the Oilmens’ Lounge and stop them from organizing (by adding the limit of MSG to the dishes?) More likely, it’s to get Committee declarations neatened up to compliance (per Committee Rules rather than the Admiral of the Hormuz Straits’ endorsement,) and to fiddle with pipeline subscriber bid chits (since pipelines get Federal rules to operate on, private operator bid and handoff notwithstanding.)

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