Question: If you mix a cocktail of “black liquor,” biofuels, diesel and a generous splash of tax subsidies — then have it shaken vigorously by Sen. Mike Crapo and served in a golden goblet by corporate lobbyists — what do you call it? Answer: Koch Brothers Moonshine.
Black liquor, a by-product of the paper-making process, is an alcoholic sludge that paper mills use to fuel their operations. Fine — creative, even. But then, the paper giants turned from creative to cabal, teaming with Sen. Crapo and other practitioners of the legislative black arts to turn their sludge into a slick tax loophole.
In 2007, Crapo and a covey of corporate lobbyists quietly made their “liquor” eligible for a subsidy meant to help wean America off of oil by encouraging the production of a biofuel-gasoline mix to power cars and trucks. Not so fine. One, vehicles can’t use mill sludge as a fuel. Two, rather than mixing biofuel to their sludge, the paper-makers add diesel! So these sneaks are siphoning off billions of dollars from a clean-fuels program by making a dirty fuel dirtier.
Who’s profiting from this load of moonshine? Right at the top are the infamous, far-right-wing Koch brothers. These secretive, multi-billionaire political extremists have long been financing everything from dozens of corporate front groups to the Tea Party in their relentless effort to impose their plutocratic agenda on our country. One major way they pay for this onslaught is by tapping directly into the blatant corporate welfare of the black liquor loophole. The Koch industrial empire includes Georgia Pacific, one of America’s largest paper-makers — and it’s the happy recipient of as much as a billion bucks a year from the perverted biofuel subsidy.
A dirty windfall from a dirty fuel to underwrite dirty politics. The whole thing stinks.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.