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Friday, August 17, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

Billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch were caught taking a victory lap to celebrate their own success in getting the Trump administration to deliver on their wildest dreams.

The Kochs have profited handsomely from businesses that are massive polluters. Their companies produce more climate pollution than even major oil companies like Chevron and Shell.

Previously their company was forced to pay $30 million in what was the largest civil fine for environmental pollution in U.S. history.

But thanks to Trump handing the Koch’s wide network free reign in the American government, the right-wing brothers will be able to pollute and profit at an increased rate.

And they aren’t being shy about it.

The Koch’s political operation recently disseminated a report in which the group “takes credit for more than a dozen new policies” put in place by the Trump administration, according to McClatchyreporting.

There are at least 44 Trump administration officials with close ties to the Kochs and their affiliated groups. Notable figures like Kellyanne Conway and White House Counsel Don McGahn worked for the Koch network.

Others, like Mike Pence and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney have benefitted from donations from Koch groups.

During the Obama administration, many of the tea party groups were funded and organized by the Kochs. These groups were a nationwide network that helped to elect many Republicans currently in Congress.

The Koch’s recent “accomplishments” include gutting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which cut greenhouse emissions from power plants; the efforts to revoke monument designations in favor of companies who want to drill; efforts to sabotage insurance coverage; and the tax cuts targeted at the super-wealthy (the Kochs are worth at least $96 billion).

Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy at the government watchdog Common Cause, told McClatchy, “It’s clear they are doing whatever they can to take advantage of the political dynamics to ram their agenda through.”

The Trump-led EPA is currently working to change the rules governing polluters in the oil and gas industry. If they get their way, those massive polluters will be given the ability to self-audit their emissions, rather than have them checked by an independent body.

It would be yet another green light for even more pollution, and just the sort of things the Kochs want.

Democratic senators are currently pushing to uncover just how much Trump has allowed the tentacles of the Koch network to burrow inside the government.

In a letter the senators note, “Americans have a right to know if special interests are unduly influencing public policy decisions that have profound implications for public health, the environment, and the economy.”

The Trump administration has utter disdain for common sense environmental regulation and policy, and the Koch Brothers network loves it. They’re working to undermine safe air and water in exchange for their personal profit.

With such a close affiliation, it is practically impossible to see any serious differences between the Koch team and Trump. They are effectively one entity, working towards a common pollution-filled vision of the world.