Koch brothers continue attack on Begich after North Pole refinery shutdown

Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ funded political group, pulled a $100,000 ad buy against U.S. Sen. Mark Begich after it was announced that Koch Industries was closing the Flint Hills Refinery in North Pole Alaska earlier this month. Perhaps attacking Begich for hurting the economy after it announced it was shuttering a mainstay of Alaska’s Interior economy didn’t make for good optics.

The refinery has left about 300 households and businesses with tainted water, and a sulfolane plume that’s 3 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. About 80 people who worked at the refinery are losing their jobs, and other entities, including the Alaska Railroad, also relied heavily on the refinery and are now considering layoffs.

Apparently, AFP is counting on the short memory of Alaskans, because the ads are back. This one, like a prior ad, first goes after Begich on healthcare and then jumps into the meat: his alleged support of a carbon tax. According to AFP, such a tax would cost the average family $2,000 a year and cost thousands of Alaskans their jobs.

Let’s get this straight: Begich has said publicly that he opposes a carbon tax. He did, however, vote on a non-binding amendment that said if such a tax were passed, revenue from it would be “returned to the American people in the form of federal deficit reduction, reduced federal tax rates, cost savings or other direct benefits.” The vote would not have created or defeated a carbon tax. Begich also voted against an amendment that would have required a vote of three fifths of the Senate to approve a carbon tax. That, vote, however, was intended to send a message to Republicans about procedure. It was not about the carbon tax.

The one thing that appears to be true in this whole situation is that Flint Hills was repeatedly warned about the sulfolane plume throughout the years. It failed to do anything about it. Now, hundreds of North Pole residents can’t drink from their faucets and at least 80 people are out of a job. And it’s unclear if Flint Hills or the state will shoulder the costs of the cleanup.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


11 thoughts on “Koch brothers continue attack on Begich after North Pole refinery shutdown

  1. XOXO

    It is time for Parnell’s AG to go after the owners of the Flint Hills Refinery. They left a mess. I’m scared the politicians are going to bend over because these guys are rich and politically active. To those politicians, I would remind you of your oath of office.

  2. wayupnorth

    If the Koch Bros are against Begich, I’m for Begich. They can take their billions and put em where the sun don’t shine. Who do they think they are to tell Alaskans who to support and vote for. These are the guys that decimated the water supply in North Pole, layed off workers and more while filling their pockets. Besides, what the alternative ? Joe Miller – no thank you. Mead Treadwell – are you kidding me ? Or that useless stuck up foirmer AG that allowed corporations to take advantage of alaskans willy nilly to which I say no thanks.

  3. Paycheck 32

    Sue the Koch bastards!
    They owe the residents of North Pole hundreds of millions. They ruined the land and water for generations.
    I agree that the residents should file a class action suit. They need to be held responsible.
    Yes I agree that Begich is crap but so is this ad. Adios amigo.

  4. Legal advisory

    This situation in North Pole is a class action suit waiting to happen. The Koch brothers have destroyed not only the lives of the people who worked at the refinery but lowered the property values of the homeowners in near proximity.
    Wake up and get a lawyer, file a class action suit.
    Can someone tell me where the Governor and his Attorney General are on this issue?are they avooding legal action by the state because they are big Republican donors ?

  5. Lynn Willis

    I own property near North Pole. The Sulfolane plume has been expanding from the North Pole Refinery for years so that now it contaminates ground water sources over several square miles. This contaminate has been found as deep as 300 feet. Why was this spill allowed to propagate over such a large area? I understand Flint Hills knew that the contamination existed when they purchased the refinery and that Flint Hills has spent money mitigating the impact; however, purchasing bottled water, treating some water, and handing our water filters will not eliminate significant pollution as long as the source remains. I would like to know why the state utterly failed to protect the residents of the North Pole community over the last several years by demanding that the source be eliminated. Recently Flint Hills has proposed raising the allowable contamination level in the people’s well water from the current 14 parts per billion to 362 parts per billion. That certainly is one way to reduce your responsibility for clean up – increase the allowable level of pollution

    So why hasn’t the state acted? Could it be because the members of the Alaska legislature who belong to the Koch brothers political organization ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council ) have been running interference for the Koch brothers in Alaska? These legislators don’t just accept donations from ALEC, they actually pay dues to have access to “model legislation” promulgated by the Koch brothers. ‘Stand your ground’ is probably the most famous ALEC legislation. Go visit the ALEC web site to see more. http://www.alec.org/model-legislation/

    I would like to know the names of our current legislators who are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council. If or before the Sulfolane cleanup issue comes before the legislature for funding I would expect each to them to declare a conflict of interest. They also should be willing to drink North Pole well water while in office containing that 362 ppb of Sulfolane if they see that solution as acceptable. . .

  6. anonymous

    The Koch brothers’ superpacs are organizations specializing in hate and deception. This ad stretches the bounds of honesty and would not, as the posting points out, not stand up to a fact checker. The Koch brothers’ greed in North Pole has devestated that community’s economy, ruined theor environment and hurt other segments of our state’s economy. And we should listen to the likes of these pricks? I din’t think so.

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