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Koch Speaks Out Against Senate Resolution Criminalizing Free Speech

Philip Ellender, president of government and public affairs for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, responds to a series of speeches that vilified individuals, non-profits and companies who do not fully share the same opinions some U.S. Senators do about America’s energy future. These same Senators also advanced a resolution to discourage free speech and take away First Amendment rights:

 “Earlier this week, we witnessed once again a coordinated campaign led by certain Senate lawmakers to silence opinions they disagree with. The goal of this three-day stunt was to garner attention for a resolution that  ‘urges fossil fuel companies and allied organizations to cooperate with active or future investigations into their climate-change related activities.’ Put another way, a handful of U.S. Senators deemed it a wise use of time to advocate for making illegal the free and open exchange of ideas and expression protected by the First Amendment.

 “While we respect the right to civil debate and political discourse, it’s sad that this week saw a once respectful Senate chamber play host to a group of Senators who acted with the sole intent of casting aspersions on individuals, organizations, and businesses without any repercussions, never letting reality get in the way of spinning a good narrative. Koch and others were given false attribution for everything – from promoting opioid addiction to prolonging droughts to fanning the flames of wildfires.  

 “As a large company with business and financial interests in oil and natural gas (among several other industries), we are no stranger to criticism claiming that we are hostile to newer energy sources and technologies. We proactively maintain, however, that there is value in all forms of energy, including wind, solar, oil, gas and everything in between.  Koch invests in quite a number of them already, including renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Products or services that help people improve their lives through voluntary exchange instead of coercion are good things.

 “What Koch Industries opposes is the government subsidizing or mandating one form of energy over another. Such behavior distorts markets and harms Americans by increasing energy costs. Subsidies and mandates often prop up companies and industries that would otherwise fail, and this is precisely the type of corporate welfare that has become all too common in today’s political system.

 “When it comes to the continued politicization of climate science, we firmly believe that all sides of the debate must recognize that the stifling of an open and free exchange on this issue will result in a loss of the scientific standards that were essential to creating our modern world and conveniences we have today. With that said, to date, dire predictions such as the polar ice cap melting by 2014 and 20 foot sea level rises have not occurred. As climate science continues to evolve, it is important that the government not take measures that will cripple our economy and overly impact the poor, but instead allow energy innovation to progress in line with market demand – not mandate. The private sector is already investing heavily in innovative technologies that will provide America with a robust energy future of affordable, abundant and reliable energy.

 “As Koch works to help people improve their lives by providing them with products and services they truly value, we will continue to advocate for principles that bring the greatest well-being to society. This includes openly and vigorously advocating for reliable, affordable and abundant energy chosen by consumers. Going forward, we hope all Senators will consider a similar approach.”