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Robert Greenwald

Robert Greenwald is a producer, director, political activist, and Brave New Films founder and president.

October 5th, 2011 6:23 PM

Are the Koch brothers lying about the Keystone XL oil pipeline?

Billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch have long relied on deceptive tactics and aggressive denials to distance themselves from the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline- the almost 2,000 mile development linking Canadian tar sands fields to Texas oil refineries.

Our Koch Brothers Exposed video investigation and persistently dogged reporting by Inside Climate News has debunked the Koch brothers' denials. The reporters have been right about the Kochs and Keystone since February, and our video investigation support the facts: the Kochs are in a position to make a fortune from the pipeline's construction.

The Koch brothers are no fans of this White House, which could veto construction permits for the pipeline to the Kochs' chagrin. The Keystone pipeline is single-handedly the greatest environmental issue from now until next year, and the White House can act to stop it without Congress. Demonstrators who were arrested en masse in August and September outside the White House made that abundantly clear.

Meanwhile, the Koch brothers made their feelings on the pipeline's construction clear. They applied to be so-called "intervenors"--a status that's granted to companies that have proved they have a business interest in certain development projects. A Koch subsidiary wrote in an application to Canadian oversight officials that it "is among Canada's largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters. Consequently, [it] has a direct and substantial interest in [becoming intervenors for pipeline.]"

Coupled with the powerful appeals Wednesday for a Congressional investigation into Koch Industries, there's a swelling totality of evidence of Koch brother misdeeds and deception. The Keystone pipeline is dangerous for many reasons, which makes it hard for anyone to report and investigate them all in one report. Earlier this week, new emails expose our government being heavily influenced by lobbyists-- a longtime staple of Koch business strategy. Our video investigation got more attention after the New York Times editorialized against the pipeline Monday.

There is... the larger question of whether this country should keep conducting business as usual -- that is, succumbing to the status quo of politics and big oil -- or whether it will seriously grapple with the reality of climate change. We again urge Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to say no to the Keystone XL.

At the heart of the email scandal is Paul Elliot, the lobbyist we identified in our video. He was an adviser on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and, in emails, he makes use of relationships to advance the profits of Big Oil. Indeed, an existing and mini-Keystone pipeline has a long history of oil spills and generates big profits for the Kochs.

The Koch brothers personify the top 1% and have used their wealth to influence policies, like those surrounding the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, to make more money at the expense of middle class families.

Thankfully the other 99% is making their voices heard with Occupy protests in almost every city. The Kochs are on notice, and we owe it to the stellar activism we're seeing. It's threatening an unnecessary and dangerous oil pipeline and unchecked corporate greed.

We must continue the fight.

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