Environment

Friday, February 8th, 2013

UK’s The Independent and Editor Steve Connor Mislead Readers about Koch

Two slanted articles by Steve Connor in the UK Independent published on January 25 got many basic facts about Koch wrong. In response, we submitted a letter pointing out the errors and omissions in Connor’s stories. Unfortunately, the newspaper edited our letter without our knowledge and without notice to its readers, in the process censoring key information and important context. Here below is the full version of what we sent to the Independent, and here is a link to the altered letter that appeared in the newspaper.

Dear Editor:

Two stories in your January 25 issue by Steve Connor were predictable in repeating tired and debunked partisan accusations about Koch Industries and its shareholders, Charles Koch and David Koch. The approach starts with a reporter working hard to “prove” his theory about the Kochs and climate change, thus offering readers just one side of the story. This is called advocacy journalism.

The pieces are littered with language intended to demonize the subjects of the stories and rally activists by using loaded words such as “secretive,” “anonymous,” “billionaire,” “undermine,” “closet skeptics,” and so on.

The reporter asserts that much of the Kochs’ funding given to a wide variety of organizations is tied to “promote skepticism towards climate change.” He states this with no evidence, only innuendo to support his theory. Quite to the contrary, Charles and David Koch believe it is important to understand the primary and secondary effects that proposed costly initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases will have on the earth’s overall climate and public health, relative to the cost of implementation.

Are Charles Koch and David Koch secretive? No.  Like the owner of The Independent, they own and operate a private company. If the reporter had done some research, he could easily find that the Kochs have openly advocated for free-market principles for 50 years, including in Charles Koch’s 2007 book, The Science of Success.  Recently, too, Charles Koch and David Koch have done in-depth interviews with Forbes magazine, the Weekly Standard magazine and other media outlets. Not exactly secretive.

Moreover, the Kochs are advocates of the critical review that is the foundation of sound science, as everyone interested in furthering discovery should be. Climate science is a complex and ever-changing issue.

We end by reminding the reporter of his own words written on June 3, 2011: “Science is a messy business. We like to think that it can give us clear-cut answers to difficult questions, but like any human endeavour it can frequently lead us up the wrong path.” Clearly, Mr. Connor’s story led him up the wrong path.

To learn more about Koch, a company that employs 60,000 people throughout the world, I encourage your readers to do their own research at www.kochind.com and www.kochfacts.com.

Sincerely,

Thomas Dubois
International Government & Public Affairs
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC
Geneva, Switzerland

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Monday, May 14th, 2012

UPDATE Inside Climate on Koch in Canada

A story that appeared on Reuters on May 10 deceives readers by falsely suggesting that industry analysts have said Koch will somehow benefit from the Keystone XL pipeline project.  The article, written by professional eco-activist David Sassoon, indicated that “Analysts say that Koch Industries…and other industry titans, stands to profit handsomely as pipelines that connect Alberta’s landlocked oil to global markets come online. … That includes the Keystone XL pipeline.”  Notice Mr. Sassoon never says who those multiple analysts are.  But as if to support his point, he then quotes a single analyst, Jan Stuart of Credit Suisse, as saying “The winners will be the companies upstream in the production end in Canada, the pipeline builders, and the mid-continent refiners all the way down to the Gulf coast.”

Yet, when we subsequently contacted Mr. Stuart directly, he said he had never cited Koch and declared “I am making no connection between Koch and the Keystone XL project.”  We will be requesting a formal correction from Reuters along with an explanation for why they continue to permit an agenda-driven activist to masquerade as an objective reporter.

Click Here For Full Post »

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Sunday, March 18th, 2012
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Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Koch Responds to Rep. Waxman’s false public comments

“A series of ongoing, politically motivated attacks by Representative Waxman and others are part of an orchestrated campaign to demonize an American company with 50,000 U.S.-based employees. This should be concerning to all Americans who exercise their Constitutional right to free speech.

At a hearing of the Committee on Energy and Commerce on January 25, Rep. Henry Waxman repeated several demonstrably false statements he had made earlier this year, asserting that Koch has some financial stake in the Keystone Pipeline project.  In particular, Mr. Waxman said at the hearing, ‘We learned that [Koch] told the Canadian government they have a direct and substantial interest so something does not add up.’

As we have previously stated, Koch Industries has no financial stake in the Keystone pipeline and we are not party to its design or construction. We are not a proposed shipper or customer of oil delivered by this pipeline. We have taken no position on the legislative proposal at issue before Congress and we are not cited in any way in that legislation.
Click Here For Full Post »

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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Debunking Conspiracy Theories in Wisconsin

Earlier this year, Koch became the object of considerable misinformation and mischaracterization in Wisconsin as news media and liberal bloggers attempted to link us to the state’s budget repair bill. We stated at the time that these assertions were false and ultimately even the media that had spread this misleading story were forced to recognize that it was false.  We see a similar ploy emerging today as an obscure, secretive blog in Wisconsin makes a conspiratorial claim that Koch is involved in a “covert…expressway of influence” in Wisconsin to advance mining legislation in the state.  Koch would “profit greatly,” so this blogger’s theory goes, “through materials and systems for [Koch's] mining operations.”

Before another lie gains traction, these are the facts: Koch has no mining operations in Wisconsin, no plans for any such operation, no financial interest in the proposed iron mine in the state, and has taken no position on any Wisconsin legislation related to mining.  Koch companies have never been involved in lobbying for this bill, either directly or through any other party.  Any suggestion that Koch companies or any of our 3,000 Wisconsin employees are secretly pursuing this project is flat out false.

The blog, by the way, is written by anonymous authors.  Readers would be right to question why the bloggers are so worried about alleged ”shadowy” participants in Wisconsin public discourse, yet conceal their own identities from the public.

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Friday, November 4th, 2011

UPDATE Koch Confronts Dishonesty from Democratic National Committee

Ms. Melanie Roussell
Press Secretary, Democratic National Committee

Dear Ms. Roussell:

A laundry list of critics including almost every national news outlet, innumerable bloggers and citizens, and an ongoing congressional inquiry have pointed out that the Administration’s loan guarantees to the now bankrupt solar company, Solyndra, were a galling mistake.  But instead of answering those questions honestly or owning up to the boondoggle, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sent out a press release under your name on November 2 attacking Koch.  You wrote, “It shouldn’t shock anyone that the Koch brothers are shilling for their oil company by funding attack ads against clean energy investments.  They are defending their own interests — the Koch Industries oil and gas conglomerate.”

This is simply dishonest.  For a start, Solyndra is not a competitor of ours.  Bankrupt companies, by definition, are not competitive.  It seems odd that the DNC still regards Solyndra as something that is “investing in America” but, then again, that is the kind of thinking that wasted more than $500 million of taxpayer money on the project in the first place.
Click Here For Full Post »

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Friday, October 28th, 2011

Statement from Charles Koch Foundation on Professor Richard A. Muller’s work with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Koch Industries supports the Charles Koch Foundation, which recently issued the following statement on the recent research conducted by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project.

“The Charles Koch Foundation has long supported, and will continue to support, sound, nonpartisan scientific research intended to benefit society by informing public policy and advancing an understanding of the costs and benefits of proposed solutions. Among the research the foundation recently supported is a project by Professor Richard A. Muller in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and several other foundations. That research is undergoing peer review now but has already received significant media interest. The research examined recent global surface temperature trends. It did not examine ocean temperature data or the cause of warming on our climate, as some have claimed,” said Tonya Mullins, director of communications for the foundation.

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Thursday, October 20th, 2011

More Dishonesty from InsideClimate News

The latest article about Koch by InsideClimate News is a prime example of the agenda-driven, dishonest journalism that is so characteristic of coverage on the Keystone pipeline.  Here is how the InsideClimate approach works:

  • Manufacture a “news” item out of something utterly ordinary.
  • Distort the meaning of the event.
  • Disregard anything that doesn’t fit the narrative, even when the target of the attack explicitly points out the facts.
  • Then give prominent, positive attention to any politician that tries to parade the distortion.

Here are the specifics:
The headline of the article reads, “Rep. Waxman requests investigation…cites legal papers filed by Koch subsidiary, uncovered by InsideClimate News.”  Yet we have detailed repeatedly (including hereherehere, and here) in response to these allegations by Congressman Waxman and InsideClimate that we have no financial interest whatsoever in the Keystone pipeline that is at issue. What’s more, the document that InsideClimate claims to have “uncovered” was, in reality, publicly filed over 2 years ago and readily available.

It was a request we made to be classified as an “intervener” — a common term in regulatory law that enables any party or person to stay directly informed about the status of a particular issue.  We have detailed publicly on numerous occasions (and to InsideClimate directly) why Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, a Koch subsidiary, applied for “intervener” status with the Canadian National Energy Board.  An intervener in a NEB proceeding is entitled to gain access to information about the progress of a particular matter, in this case the “application” concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline project.  Many others also applied and were granted intervener status in exactly the same way — including individual citizens, members of various First Nation groups, businesses, and environmental activists similar to Mr. Sassoon and InsideClimate.

A complete list of interveners is found here.  Notice in particular that in the application FHR states it did not anticipate taking any active role at the regulatory hearing in question and noted that it would not appear at the hearing; true to its word, FHR did not appear or take any role at the hearing.  Indeed, other than its application to intervene, FHR did not file anything else in the proceeding.  By contrast, other groups that were given the exact same “intervener” status, such as Sierra Club Canada (which stated it would appear at the hearing), the Alberta Federation of Labour, and the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, took an active role in the proceedings, presenting evidence, making final arguments, and seeking information from Keystone XL Pipeline.

When a party applies to be an intervener, they formally state that they have an “interest” in the application that is being considered.  That use of the word “interest” means, by first definition, curious or paying attention.  But InsideClimate distorts that meaning as if it meant a financial interest or stake — a secondary but altogether different meaning of the word.  That’s how, when InsideClimate writes that, “the company claimed ‘a direct and substantial interest’ in the Keystone XL,” it deceives readers.  What FHR actually said when it applied for intervener status was that it had”a direct and substantial interest in the application” — meaning it wanted to stay informed about Keystone’s application, and nothing more.  That intervener status does not mean (as Mr. Sassoon apparently wishes readers to believe) that FHR has a direct financial interest stake in the project.  In fact, if FHR or any other proposed intervener had a financial, ownership, or investment interest in the proceeding, that would have been required to be disclosed.  Of course, FHR did not have and still has no such interest in the Keystone Pipeline XL project.

All this is both well known to anyone familiar with regulatory procedure, easily fact checked, and something that we have publicly stated repeatedly.

We spelled all this out for the writer at InsideClimate, Stacy Feldman, and she refused to include it in the article.  Instead, she suggested that we post it in the comment thread beneath the article.  The editor’s note at the top of the article, “This version of the story adds comment from Koch Industries,” further misleads readers.  The truth is that we tried several times to get Ms. Feldman to include our full comment and she would not, oddly insisting that it did not “pertain” to the issue.  That verbatim statement is posted below.

Perhaps the worst part of the dishonesty at InsideClimate is that it aims to deceive readers into thinking that it is an objective, independent news organization — and also provide their copy to legitimate news outlets as such.  We have detailed, however, that InsideClimate has multiple financial and ideological conflicts of interest.  News outlets that reprint their material as straight reporting do a deep disservice to readers and we would urge anyone that encounters their copy to regard it with deep skepticism.

Indeed that is exactly what happened last February when InsideClimate and its owner, David Sassoon, were the first to write false stories saying that we had some financial connection to the Keystone project.  They never bothered to fact check with us prior to writing that approval of the project would be a “big victory” for Koch and a “great financial opportunity [for Koch to] profit.”  Those two stories, in turn, prompted Congressman Waxman’s staff to raise the issue with us directly and then he raised it directly with the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  We detailed for his staff that we have no financial interest in the project whatsoever and also responded with the same message in response to Rep. Waxman’s letter to the Committee.  Naturally, InsideClimate touted Mr. Waxman’s efforts, again completely disregarding our explicitly stated position, and then wrote that Koch was being “accused of stonewalling.”  Yes, the deceit is that obvious and just as brazen, and we exposed it at the time.

Here is the full statement that we provided to InsideClimate News — and which they refused to include in the article:

Subject: Statement from Koch Industries

As previously stated, Koch Industries has no financial stake in the Keystone pipeline and we are not party to its design or construction. We are not a proposed shipper or customer of oil delivered by this pipeline. We have taken no position on the legislative proposal at issue before Congress and we are not cited in any way in that legislation.

This is just the latest of many false allegations initiated by InsideClimateNews and advanced by aligned advocacy media. It is also evidence that those promoting these falsehoods do not even do the basic due diligence before attacking Koch industries. A rudimentary fact check by any legitimate investigator or reporter would reveal the clear difference between “intervening” in an application in Canada’s National Energy Board hearings, and “having an interest” in the pipeline. By definition, an intervener is anyone who wants to learn more about a project. In this case, interveners included individuals, environmental groups, businesses and many others. We challenge InsideClimateNews and other advocacy media to ask Sierra Club Canada and other interveners in this case if they have a financial interest in the pipeline.

A complete list of interveners is found here.  Notice in particular that in the application documents, our subsidiary, Flint Hills Resources, indicates that it did not anticipate taking any active role at the regulatory hearing in question.  By contrast, other groups that were given the exact same “intervener” status, such as Sierra Club and the Alberta Labour Union, took an active and role at the hearing, presenting briefs and other arguments.

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Thursday, October 20th, 2011

UPDATE Continuing Falsehoods from InsideClimate and its Owner, David Sassoon

InsideClimate News has published a “reply” to the statement we provided them on their latest story on the Keystone pipeline — a statement that they refused to run in full.  The reply itself, however, is shot through with further falsehoods.  We detail them here both to set the record straight and as further notice to readers and legitimate news outlets alike that InsideClimate is being willfully deceptive in its coverage of Koch:
Click Here For Full Post »

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Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Setting the Record Straight on Keystone

As previously stated, Koch Industries has no financial stake in the Keystone pipeline and we are not party to its design or construction. We are not a proposed shipper or customer of oil delivered by this pipeline. We have taken no position on the legislative proposal at issue before Congress and we are not cited in any way in that legislation.

This is just the latest of many false allegations initiated by InsideClimateNews and advanced by aligned advocacy media. It is also evidence that those promoting these falsehoods do not even do the basic due diligence before attacking Koch industries. A rudimentary fact check by any legitimate investigator or reporter would reveal the clear difference between “intervening” in an application in Canada’s National Energy Board hearings, and “having an interest” in the pipeline. By definition, an intervener is anyone who wants to learn more about a project. In this case, interveners included individuals, environmental groups, businesses and many others. We challenge InsideClimateNews and other advocacy media to ask Sierra Club Canada and other interveners in this case if they have a financial interest in the pipeline.

A complete list of interveners is found here.

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Friday, July 1st, 2011

We Confront Reuters on Advocacy Journalism

Reuters has been using an environmental activist to cover Koch Industries and is misleading readers by pretending he is objective. This is dishonest and journalistically irresponsible.

We first raised the issue after Reuters published news items about Koch Industries by David Sassoon at SolveClimateNews.  SolveClimate is a website focused on “key climate solutions . . . that will have immediate and measurable impact on the pollution-causing climate change.”

When we asked why Reuters permits Sassoon and SolveClimate to cover Koch they told us,

We take feeds from several news organizations on the condition that they uphold Reuters standards. We’re satisfied that SolveClimate, which is a news organization, meets those.”

In a response, we presented Reuters with evidence that Mr. Sassoon and SolveClimate are promoting a single point of view on climate change under the cover of objective journalism.

Click Here For Full Post »

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Friday, May 27th, 2011

Reuters Misleads Readers on Koch Industries and the Keystone XL Pipeline. We Respond.

Mr. Jack Reerink
Managing Editor
Reuters

Dear Mr. Reerink:

For the second time in recent weeks, Reuters has permitted an agenda-driven advocacy organization, SolveClimate, to run an article on your news agency about Koch Industries that is factually inaccurate and beneath Reuters’ standards. Here are links to those two articles:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/10/idUS292515702420110210

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/25/idUS336798587820110525

Let me be specific about our concerns:

– We have stated publicly and repeatedly, including last week when questioned by staff of Congressman Waxman, that we have no financial stake in the pipeline that is the subject of the reporting and we are not party to its design or construction. We are not a proposed shipper or customer of oil delivered by this pipeline. We have taken no position on the legislative proposal at issue before Congress and we are not cited in any way in that legislation.


Click Here For Full Post »

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Monday, May 2nd, 2011

EPA Letter Challenges CBS News Report

Mr. Dan Farber
Editor-in-Chief
CBS News Interactive

Dear Mr. Farber,

I am writing to you to bring to your attention a development that updates and completes one of your recent investigative stories.
On March 15, CBS News Investigates posted a story on its website that appeared to report that Koch Industries was in violation of the Clean Water Act. The lead sentence of the story leaves readers with the strong impression that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was about to file a complaint against the company when, in fact, the complaint was to be filed by two environmental activist groups against a paper mill owned by a Koch subsidiary.

Those activist groups did indeed file a complaint with the EPA and the agency responded to them
Click Here For Full Post »

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Monday, April 19th, 2010

Statement Regarding Greenpeace Report, March 2010

Long before climate change became a key policy issue, Koch companies and Koch foundations were focused on achieving environmental excellence and using resources efficiently. Because of extensive efforts and investments, we have been able to implement innovative practices that reduce energy use and emissions in the manufacture and distribution of our products and achieve superior safety and environmental performance.

This track record has earned local, state, national and international recognition for Koch companies, including more than 180 awards since January 2009. By ignoring our many accomplishments and presenting half facts and inaccuracies about past legal and environmental issues, Greenpeace distorts Koch companies’ environmental record.

In addition, the Greenpeace report’s unsubstantiated and inaccurate assertion – that all funds given by Koch Industries and Koch foundations to a broad group of organizations from 2005 through 2008 were focused on climate issues – breaks down immediately upon examination. As the organizations involved have affirmed, they focus on numerous public policy issues and the funding in question supported many projects outside the scope of energy or environmental matters.

Overall, we believe science – not politicized opinion – must play a central role in the discussion about climate and related policy proposals. Both a free society and the scientific method require an open and honest airing of all sides, not demonizing and silencing those with whom you disagree. In a consistent, principled effort for more than 40 years, Koch companies and Koch foundations have worked to advance economic freedom and market-based policy solutions to challenges faced by society. History and research show that economic freedom best fosters innovation, environmental protection and improved quality of life for a society.

We will continue to encourage a civil, science-based discussion of the effect of greenhouse gases on the climate, and the potential effects and costs of policies proposed to deal with climate change. The climate-policy debate should include a realistic assessment of which initiatives are likely to result in actual environmental good, and what effects those initiatives would have on the global economy.

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