The Koch Brothers, an ultra-secret and super-rich duo that shamelessly funnels money to the climate-denier movement and campaigns to ram through the Keystone XL pipeline, are the lucky recipients of the Center for Biological Diversity's 2013 Rubber Dodo Award, given annually to those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct.
Previous winners include climate denier James Inhofe (2012), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2011), former BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010), massive land speculator Michael Winer (2009), Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008) and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (2007).
"When it comes to pulling levers behind the scenes for those who wreck our climate, destroy wild places and attempt to kill our last remaining wildlife, the Koch Brothers are in a class by themselves," said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center.
"These guys are the poster children for despicable corporate greed. The Koch Brothers get the 2013 Rubber Dodo for a terrible global legacy that could take hundreds of years to undo."
Charles G. and David H. Koch have worked for years behind the scenes to prop up right-wing operations like the climate-denial movement, the Tea Party, and efforts to ram through Keystone XL and strip federal protection for the last wolves left in the lower 48 states. Along the way the billionaire brothers and their network have fought (with substantial financial backing) against pollution-control measures, clean energy and environmental regulations.
The Keystone XL pipeline project alone will facilitate the burning of so much fossil fuel that a leading climate researcher has said it equates to a "game over" for avoiding climate catastrophe. The pipeline will also put more than a dozen endangered species in harm's way, including whooping cranes and northern swift foxes, and pose a danger to hundreds of rivers and streams. The State Department estimates the pipeline could spill up to 34,000 gallons of tar sands oil each year.
More than 14,500 people cast their votes in this year's Rubber Dodo contest. Other official nominees were Rep. Doc Hastings, who has pushed to erode the Endangered Species Act; Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, the company pushing the Keystone XL pipeline; and the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, for endlessly opposing common-sense efforts to stop the poisoning of wildlife from toxic lead ammunition.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.