It’s no secret now that Charles Koch wrote a whine-fest of an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal where he generally boasted about how great he is while expressing his frustration with how “unfairly” he’s been treated by liberals. Nothing quite like a multibillionaire whining because he’s trying to buy the Republican party and people are finally calling him out on it.
In the op-ed, Koch decided to boast about his company’s environmental record and apparently how the EPA has commended Koch Industries for their environmental policies.
Unfortunately for him, it’s not true. Politifact rated the statement as “Mostly False.”
What the EPA actually did was offer a compliment toward a Koch Industries subsidiary company in Texas, Flint Hill Resources, for an agreement they reached with the company in 2010.
The reality is the EPA has repeatedly found Koch Industries in violation of their policies:
- In 1999, Koch Industries was found guilty of negligence and malice after two teens in Texas died as a result of an underground pipe leaking butane, according to reports.
- In January 2000, Koch Industries was forced to pay a $30 million civil penalty, “the largest civil fine ever imposed on a company under any federal environmental law” and $5 million in cleanup efforts to resolve claims of more than 300 spills from oil pipelines in six states.
- “This record civil penalty sends a clear message to those who transport hazardous materials: You cannot endanger public health or the environment,” said Attorney General Janet Reno. “We will not let you foul our water and spoil our land by breaking the law.”
- In March 2000, the Koch Petroleum Group was sentenced to pay $6 million in criminal fines and $2 million in remediation costs — the largest federal fine ever paid in Minnesota at the time — after it was found that one of their refineries polluted waterways and wetlands in Minnesota before 1997. According to a press release, “Koch admitted that it negligently discharged aviation fuel into a wetland and an adjoining waterway. Even though Koch was aware of the problem, it did not develop a comprehensive plan to recover between 200,000-600,000 gallons of released fuel until June 1997.”
- In September 2000, Koch Industries was indicted for environmental crimes at a refinery the company owned in Texas. They eventually paid a $25 million fine after pleading guilty to one criminal charge.
- “Companies that produce dangerous pollutants simply cannot focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of a community’s health,” said Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the environment at the Justice Department. “We will continue to find and prosecute those who would flout our environmental laws.”
- In February 2013, Koch Nitrogen Company paid a $380,000 fine for failing to create a risk management program for facilities producing and storing ammonia products in Iowa and Kansas.
- In March 2014, Flint Hills Resources paid a $350,000 fine for leaky equipment at a Texas chemical plant that allowed hazardous air pollutants into the atmosphere. Though the EPA also credited the company for implementing what it described as “innovative technologies” in the plant to capture pollutants.
Not exactly what I would call a “commendable environmental record.”
Like with almost everything else that involves conservatives, Charles Koch feels that he can rewrite history and reality to fit what he wishes it was, instead of what it actually is.