Some of us, when we die, will leave behind a legacy that echoes down the corridors of history. The Koch Brothers are among that number, but future history will not remember them kindly at all. A report released by a top Democratic political research group on Friday hits the highlights of the “legacy” of layoffs and environmental damage done by subsidiaries of Koch Industries, and it’s not pretty.
The 51-page report, produced by American Bridge 21st Century and titled “Legacy of Loss: The Koch Industries’ Layoffs and Environmental Harm in Battleground States,” pulls back the curtain in 12 battleground states to show the environmental and the economic damage that these two wretched men have bequeathed unto our species, and every other species, on the planet.
For instance, in Detroit, a Koch owned subsidy called “Detroit Bulk Storage” dumped a byproduct of petroleum called “petroleum coke” or “pet coke” along the waterfront. And that’s just the beginning:
Detroit Bulk Piled Petroleum Coke Along The Detroit Riverfront. According to Postmedia Breaking News, “The riverfront property in Detroit triggered controversy last year after Detroit Bulk started piling massive amounts of petroleumcoke – a byproduct of Alberta’s oil sands – next to the water and in close proximity to thousands of residents of both sides of the border.” [Postmedia Breaking News, 4/9/14]
“Pet Coke” Piles Were Almost Four Stories High. According to the Detroit Free Press, “Pet coke, a byproduct of tar sands oil refinery used as a cheap but dirty-burning fuel, was stored in piles along the Detroit River that at one point were about four stories high.” [Detroit Free Press, 2/11/14]
“Pet Coke” Piles Spanned An Entire City Block. According to Policy Mic, “The pet coke currently spanning one city block in Detroit isn’t from the U.S., nope it’s actually from the oil sands of Canada as mined by Marathon Oil.” [Policy Mic, 5/19/13]
So what exactly is petroleum coke? According to the IUPAC:
A carbonization product of high-boiling hydrocarbon fractions obtained in petroleum processing (heavy residues). It is the general term for all special petroleum coke products such as green, calcined and needle petroleum coke.
As of 2013, the EPA no longer gives certification for burning pet coke as fuel, although places like China and India still use it. It’s high sulfur content means that there are some environmental and technical challenges with using it as fuel, anyway. The mountain sits right across from Assumption Park, in Detroit, so it comes with a nice view of the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. The reports notes that this ash would blow into people’s apartments, in their cars, and across the river into Canada.
The report also notes that Georgia-Pacific, another subsidy of the Koch Bros., was partially responsible for pollution in the Kalamazoo River, and part of the reason that river was declared a Superfund site in 1990.
Meanwhile, across all 12 states, various Koch-owned subsidies are responsible for laying off hundreds of individuals and damaging the economies of those states. And they’re not content with stopping there; the Huffington Post reports that Koch-affiliated groups have vowed to spend more than $300 million in the 2014 midterm elections, to try and bolster the lackluster Republican candidates. The majority of that money is going to “issue-focused ads” and to oppose emission regulations.
This spending makes the Koch network a prime target for various political groups the represent Democrat interests. Brad Woodhouse, the president of American Bridge, the group responsible for the study, told journalists ahead of the release that GOP candidates “can have the Koch brothers’ largesse, but they’re going to get the other side, too.”
Which is as it should be. The Democrats should be doing everything in their power to make that money as toxic as the crap that the Koch Bros. release into the environment.
Featured Image courtesy of: WilliamBanzai17