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David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, attends an Economic Club of New York event in New York, December 10, 2012.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR3BFKF
Like perfect movie villains, the Koch brothers have their fingers in everything, but secretly. Or not so secretly, anymore.
You might expect the biggest lease owner in Canada's oil sands, or tar sands, to be one of the international oil giants, like Exxon Mobil or Royal Dutch Shell. But that isn't the case. The biggest lease holder in the northern Alberta oil sands is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the privately-owned cornerstone of the fortune of conservative Koch brothers Charles and David.

The Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres -- an area nearly the size of Delaware -- in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, according to an activist group that studied Alberta provincial records. The Post confirmed the group’s findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government’s ministry of energy. Separately, industry sources familiar with oil sands leases said Koch’s lease holdings could be closer to two million acres.The company with the next biggest collection of oil sands leases is Conoco Phillips.

While the Kochs aren't the primary beneficiaries—they haven't reserved space in the potential pipeline and are not partnering with TransCanada—they would benefit handsomely from the infrastructure put in place by the pipeline. So says the activist group, the International Forum on Globalization, which is publicizing the Kochs' tar sands holding. They contend that the pipeline will "create competition among rail and other pipelines and lower transportation costs for all oil sands producers, bolstering profit margins and making additional reserves economically viable."

Exploiting their extensive tar sands holdings would only be made easier—and more profitable!— IFG says, if Keystone XL is approved.That could certainly help explain the Republican obsession with the Keystone XL pipeline approval, beyond their base love for fossil fuels and environmental degradation.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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