Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

White House Fires Back at Charles Koch

Politics
White House Fires Back at Charles Koch

The White House fired back at the Koch brothers yesterday after Charles Koch told Politico he was "flabbergasted" by a recent attack on him and his brother by President Obama during a clean energy speech in Las Vegas, Nevada earlier this week.

It all started on Monday when President Obama accused critics of his energy policies as “wanting to protect an outdated status quo” and “standing in the way of the future.” He specifically called out the Koch brothers for funding these attacks on renewable energy, saying “you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding—that’s a problem.”

On Tuesday, Charles Koch responded to the comments, saying the attack was "beneath the President, the dignity of the President, to be doing that." Koch told Politico that he is not against renewable energy, he is merely “opposed to renewable energy subsidies of all kinds—as we are all subsidies, whether they benefit or help us.”

Yesterday, White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest said Koch’s statements were untrue“I’m not sure whether to describe those comments as remarkably rich or utterly predictable,” Earnest said. “It’s that when the President is advocating, for example, the end of tax subsidies that benefit oil and gas companies, that somebody who has made billions of dollars leading an oil and gas company, might not think very highly of that policy proposal.”

Earnest also derided Koch for claiming that his company has not lobbied for policies favorable to oil and gas companies over renewable energy projects. "The fact is that Koch Industries has spent at least tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, lobbying Congress—these are public disclosures—in support of those kinds of policies, to say nothing of the millions of dollars that they have spent punishing those candidates that didn’t side with them,” Earnest said.

When asked if he was surprised by Koch's response to the criticism, Earnest responded with: “I guess. Yeah,” he said, remarking that Obama is not particularly surprised to see criticism of his policies from people like the “millionaires and billionaires” who “start to squeal. And I guess one billionaire special-interest benefactor chose to squeal to a Politico reporter,” Earnest said.

Philip Ellender, Koch Industries private sector’s president and chief operating officer of government and public affairs, responded to Earnest’s comments, reiterating their stance that they "have not lobbied for government subsidies or mandates, and we have lobbied against subsidies that directly benefit Koch." They say they have fought against "government boondoggles" and "corporate welfare" for decades. They admitted that they have accepted subsidies, but only to protect their employees and maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. "But to reiterate, we would eliminate all subsidies and mandates today if we could, including those we receive," said Ellender.

Charles and his brother David, along with their vast network of wealthy, conservative donors—the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce—plan to spend a jaw-dropping $889 million for the presidential election. Earlier this month, the billionaire brothers hosted the annual Freedom Partners summit, which included five GOP presidential candidates seeking donations from the wealthy funders.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Obama Slams Koch Brothers at Clean Energy Summit for ‘Standing in the Way of Progress’

Charles Koch Blasts President Obama for Comments Made at Climate Speech

Why Is the World Obsessed With Donald Trump?

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.

"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.

She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.

"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.

She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.

This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.

"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

Trending

A rare North Atlantic right whale is seen off Cape Cod Bay on April 14, 2019 near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Sprinklers irrigate a field of onions near a Castilian village in Spain. According to a new study, the average farm size in the EU has almost doubled since the 1960s. miguelangelortega / Moment / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."

Read More Show Less
Members of the San Carlos Apache Nation protest to protect parts of Oak Flat from a copper mining company on July 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

In yet another attack on the environment before leaving office, the Trump administration is seeking to transfer ownership of San Carlos Apache holy ground in Oak Flat, Arizona, to a copper mining company.

Read More Show Less