Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Koch Bros. Take Kansas

In their very personal war against a sustainable future for the planet, the reactionary billionaires, Koch Brothers have compelled the Kansas legislature to revoke the state's mandantory renewable energy portfolio and replace it with a voluntary one. Not surprising since the headquarters for Koch [fossil fuel] Industries is in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle noted that the Koch lobbyist was present at the press conference announcing the defeat for clean energy. The bill is certain to be signed by the Repugnant governor of the state. The deal to replace the mandantory 20% by 2020 standard was reached in private with representatives of the Kansas [star] Chamber of Commerce and Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. Wind industry representatives managed to prevent a 4.33% excise tax on wind energy production; tax breaks were trimmed down from lifetime to ten years.  Fossil fuel hacks said the bill will "allow investment to continue in Kansas", as if alternatives provide none. Kansas joins Ohio and West Virginia, coal states, in marching under the Kochs back to the past. Pew Charitable Trusts reports Ohio's decision to freeze its mandantory renewables goals is driving clean energy investment out of the state. ALEC's "Electricity Freedom Act", as the rollback effort is called, is the prime example of the "free market" double-think espoused by Kochs and their anti-environment allies.

Kansas already is a leader (3rd) in wind-generated energy. Last year wind provided more than 21.7% of the state's energy, created 12,000 jobs and attracted $8 billion in investment. It is a mistake to assume the Kochs will not come back and demand an excise tax on wind energy in the future when wind energy becomes cheaper than coal, oil, or even gas. Clearly the free marketeers who imposed this backroom deal on the citizens of the state do not realize they are not in Kansas anymore.