But perhaps the most disturbing thing about Mohl’s revealing glimpse into Koch’s rarified world was Koch’s unapologetic disclosure of his two-pronged strategy to try to stop Cape Wind from getting built: “delay, aircon servicing, delay,” and “elect politicians who understand how foolhardy alternative energy is.” In the interview, Koch details how he has attempted to influence the political and legal process, from installing lobbyists in Washington to funding an opposition front on the Cape, which goes by the name of Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. The non-profit group, which masquerades as an environmental organization, is engaged principally in the manufacture of flimsy lawsuits focused on delaying Cape Wind. Koch himself paid $100,000 toward the executive director’s salary in 2010, according to the group’s tax return.
Despite his seeming nonchalance about the outcome of his investment—he dismissed Cape Wind as “an irritant”—Koch acknowledged that he has been a “huge contributor” to the Alliance and continues to play a role. Just last year, Koch’s Alliance paid the Barnstable Town Council to do his bidding with a gift of funds for a new lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration. The bill for that litigation reportedly is approaching $400,000, on top of the “well over a million bucks” he copped to spending on the Alliance over the past 10 years. Published reports state that Koch had already put in $1.5 million as of seven years ago.
With his strategy, Koch is hoping that Cape Wind President and CEO Jim Gordon will run out of money or patience before Cape Wind is built. But with momentum on Cape Wind’s side after a run of positive developments—including the approval of all of Cape Wind’s federal and state permits, long-term contracts for more than 75% of its energy output, and the recent announcement of a major financing deal with a major international bank—Koch is down to one card. And he acknowledged that between the government’s own hand and Jim Gordon’s perseverance, he may yet be trumped. When asked how he thinks his campaign of delay will end, he said, “To tell you the truth, I don’t know.”
We loved Michael Conathan’s comparison of Koch to a tantrum-throwing toddler in this excellent editorial in ClimateProgress. Says Conathan, “With Cape Wind on the cusp of a successful conclusion to its decade-long effort to bring local renewable energy to Massachusetts, the time is now to redouble efforts to ensure this tyrant doesn’t get his way.”
We have an opening. Now’s the time to make sure that your representatives know that Bill Koch cannot be allowed to call the shots for Cape Wind and our energy future. Sign our petition and ask your elected leaders whether they will stand up for clean energy and jobs or bow down to a deep-pocketed, coal and oil billionaire. Koch said, “The concept of getting alternative energy that’s going to save the earth is not consistent with what people want.” He couldn’t be more wrong. To ensure that Koch’s message is not the one deciding Cape Wind’s fate in Washington, let’s answer his arrogant challenge and “bring it on, baby.”