House Dems: Koch brothers could benefit from oil pipeline approval

“We are writing to request that in preparation for the hearing on and markup of this draft legislation, the Committee request documents from Koch Industries relating to the company’s interests in Canadian tar sands and the extent to which it will benefit if the Keystone XL pipeline is constructed,” the Democrats write in a letter sent to committee Republicans Friday.

The lawmakers allege Koch stands to benefit from the approval of the project, which would carry Canadian oil sands from Alberta to refineries in Texas.

“Publicly available information indicates that the company is involved in several aspects of Canadian tar sands development,” the letter says.

But Democrats have been unable to get information about the extent of Koch’s involvement in Canadian oil sands, the letter says.

A Koch representative told Democratic staff that Keystone XL has “nothing to do with any of our businesses.” The company also noted that Koch has “no financial interest” in the project.

But the letter says the company would not answer broad questions about its involvement in the oil sands industry.

“Koch’s representatives refused to answer questions about Koch’s activities or interests in the Canadian tar sands," the letter says. "They refused to confirm or deny reports that the company is developing tar sand projects. They also refused to say whether Koch Industries owns — through a wholly owned subsidiary — a terminal involved in the tar sands business."

The Koch Brothers own a Kansas-based refining company and are major contributors to a slew of Republican causes. They’ve become the target of intense criticism from Democrats and environmental groups in recent months.

A Koch spokesman did not return a request for comment.

—Ben Geman contributed to this story.