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Keep Calm and Have a Koch

Charles and David Koch know how to pick a winner. The size and scope of the holdings of Koch Industries is a testament to that.

And if there's anything the far-left doesn't like, it's a winner.

And so they don't like the Koch brothers; as much for their business successes as for their use of their substantial fortune to financially support political movements like the Tea Party, which has consistently confounded the left ever since its inception. It's in this particular vein that a group calling itself the International Forum on Globalization has taken special interest not only in the Kochs -- the banner on their webpage accuses then of "corrupting democracy" -- but also in the leases Koch Oilsands Operations (a subsidiary of Koch Industries) holds on 1.1 million acres of oilsands.

Their "report" (totaling two pages, it is scarcely worthy of being considered a report) bends over backwards to link the Koch brothers to the Keystone XL pipeline -- and effectively falls flat on its face.

The report raves that the Kochs stand to earn potentially hundreds of billions of dollars if the Keystone XL pipeline is approved. Those are funds they could use to support conservative political organizations and movements that the IFG would rather not exist; citizens that the IFG would prefer remain silent.

And so, the IFG seems to posit, the Keystone XL pipeline should be rejected for the most nakedly political reasons: the petty political desire of the far-left to defeat its opponents regardless of the ends or the means.

But as both the Washington Post and Powerline seem to have concluded in the spat they managed to have over the Post's coverage of the IFG's "report," the argument is razor thin: the link between the Koch brothers and the Keystone XL pipeline is far from convincing, and far from direct.

KOSO's leases remain largely undeveloped. Unless KOSO suddenly starts developing these leases at a breakneck pace, it's unlikely that they would have any operations actually operating by the time Keystone XL is finally approved and constructed. That makes it seem far more likely that the KOSO leases are simply a futures play: that the Koch plan is to sell these leases at a premium when their value is at their highest.

That futures play depends on far more than just Keystone XL. It depends upon Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan, Energy East, the Line 9 reversal, and even continuing investments in rail capacity. Most of these projects have either been green-lit, conditionally green-lit, or are in the process of being green-lit. Of them, only Keystone XL and Northern Gateway remain in any degree of doubt.

Regardless of what happens from this point forward, it's certain that David and Charles Koch have picked a winner. And although the IFG may despise a winner, that doesn't change the outcome.