Koch Industries and various groups supported by the Koch brothers’ political donations are opposed the Boone Picken’s plan to provide government subsidies to anyone who makes or buys natural gas power vehicles. The position seems consistent with the Koch’s generally libertarian policy outlook, though the company is involved in the natural gas industry and presumably would benefit financially from Picken’s slimmed down plan.
Rather than admire their self-sacrificing political consistency, Pickens is mystified that someone would be opposed to spending taxpayer money to fund his plan.
Billionaire energy magnate T. Boone Pickens slammed Koch Industries on Friday for its opposition to legislation he’s promoting that provides tax credits to jumpstart use of natural gas in the trucking industry.
“They don’t ever come toe-to-toe. They don’t get up and discuss these issues or anything. They are very mysterious,” Pickens said on CNBC.
But in a statement earlier this month against the bill, an executive with Kansas-based Koch Industries, which is active in refining, polymers and other sectors, said the company has “consistently opposed subsidies that distort markets.”
“We maintain that the marketplace, while not perfect, is the best mechanism for allocating resources to consumers. People deciding what fuels to purchase, instead of the government, is best for consumers and our country,” said Richard Fink, executive vice president for the company. He said that Koch does not question Pickens’ “intentions or integrity,” but added:
“We believe history has demonstrated over and over that these subsidies end up undermining the long-term prosperity of the country. For these principled reasons, we oppose this bill (HR 1380) to give tax incentives to buyers and makers of natural gas-powered vehicles and related infrastructure.”
But Pickens noted the company benefits from subsidies that bolster the ethanol industry and more broadly defended the bipartisan legislation, which was introduced by Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) and has over 180 co-sponsors.
“I am trying to get away from the terrorists. I think that the money that we pay to OPEC, it gets in the hands of the Taliban,” Pickens said, calling use of domestic natural gas a viable alternative.
He also noted that the bill would provide the tax credits for a limited number of years, unlike longstanding ethanol tax subsidies.
“I just want the 18-wheelers and with those I can cut OPEC in half, and my help from the government [is] a five year and out,” Pickens said.