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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Question: If you mix a cocktail of “black liquor,” biofuels, diesel and a generous splash of tax subsidies — then have it shaken vigorously by a U.S. senator and served in a golden goblet by corporate lobbyists — what do you call it? Answer: Koch Brothers Moonshine.

Black liquor is the key ingredient here, though don’t mistake it for an adult beverage like Johnnie Walker “black label” scotch or the relatively new wine named “Black Box.” No one drinks this black liquor moonshine. But fasten the seatbelt on your barstool, for you do pick up the tab for it — and the billionaire Koch boys do appreciate your civic generosity.

What we have here is an alcoholic sludge. Yuck! Yeah, you would never imbibe the nasty goo, which is a byproduct of the papermaking process, but it is a useful fuel that the industry uses to power its mills. Fine — it’s an example creative recycling.

But, next thing you know, the scheming honchos of these very profitable paper corporations went from creative to cabal. Conspiring with Sen. Mike Crapo and other practitioners of the legislative black arts, they turned their humble sludge into a slick, $3-to-4-billion-a-year corporate welfare freebie.

In 2007, Crapo and a covey of corporate lobbyists quietly made their “liquor” eligible for a subsidy meant to help wean America off of oil by encouraging the production of a biofuel-gasoline mix to power cars and trucks.