Remember acid rain and the ones who thought it was a myth?

crime by banspy

From promoting acid rain to climate denial — over 20 years of David Koch’s polluter front groups
[Via Climate Progress]

This week we learned that Koch Industries outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation. And we saw that a Smithsonian exhibit funded by David Koch whitewashes the danger of human-caused climate change.

Yet this is but the latest effort in a nearly quarter-century effort to misinform the public by the billionaire polluter, as Lee Fang reveals in this Wonk Room repost.

The corporate-backed front group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is again leading the charge for industry against environmental protections. Earlier this month, AFP kicked off its “Regulation Reality Tour” — a roadshow through the states of pivotal senators pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency not to regulate carbon emissions, as outlined by the Clean Air Act .

The campaign is part carnival, part sophisticated K Street lobbying. Attendees are welcomed by an inflatable moonbounce for children, free food and drinks, and AFP staff dressed as “carbon cops” distributing freebies to the crowd. The rallies serve as a platform for AFP to scare voters with stories of bureaucrats regulating churches and “radio controlled thermostats.” Moreover, operatives from AFP collect names and train attendees on how to lobby Congress to defeat clean energy reform.

The founder and chairman of Americans for Prosperity is oil baron David Koch, who is one of the richest men in the world because of his oil, chemicals, and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries. Koch Industries is a major polluter with an atrocious record of sloppy operations. According to the EPA, Koch Industries is responsible for over 300 oil spills in the US and has leaked three million gallons of crude oil into fisheries and drinking waters. They were fined a record $35 million dollars and an additional $8 million in Minnesota for discharging into streams. But AFP’s recent crusade against the EPA is just the latest in Koch’s twenty-year campaign to have unrestricted power to pollute. Below is a timeline with snapshots of Koch’s long running campaign to distort science, orchestrate fake grassroots campaigns, and defeat environmental protections. Click MORE for the timeline:


There is more and more information detailing the connected nature of the groups that fought against acid rain legislation, smoking regulations and, currently, climate change science. And Koch seems to be there at each point, with a wide open wallet.

Follow the timeline to understand how Koch Industries could have spent almost $50 million since the late 1990s to spread disinformation. Its influence goes back to the early 1980s when it tried to stop legislation applying cap-and-trade regulation to the pollutants that caused acid rain. A spin-off group tried to claim that acid rain was a myth and that it was actually good for the environment (Sound familiar?)

Of course, they were absolutely wrong and the cap-and-trade regulation actually worked, reducing emission of sulfur dioxide, greatly reducing the destruction of acid rain and saving many of our lakes and rivers.

These Koch-funded groups still exist, having been involved in disinformation campaigns against cigarettes and against air pollution, organizing tea parties and generally spreading what can only be called lies.

It is very hard for working scientists to effectively communicate their research when they are shouted down by extremely well paid shills who have been doing similar ‘work’ for the last 20 years. These groups are not interested in any greater understanding of our world. They simply want to distort or destroy any research which makes it harder for them to do business, using any and all means.

And $50 million can buy a lot of means.

4 thoughts on “Remember acid rain and the ones who thought it was a myth?

  1. Great post. The time is ripe for kicking big oil now that they down. Push your article to a larger audience.

  2. So if they are lying, big business polluters who just care about making money and don’t care if their enterprises ruin the world environmentally and economically, won’t that eventually lead to their own demise?? Why would they do that???

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