Flint Hills Resources, a biofuels company owned by the corporation controlled by brothers Charles and David Koch, has purchased its seventh ethanol plant.
This week Flint Hills completed its acquisition of the plant near Camilla, Ga., from Southwest Georgia Ethanol. According to Flint Hills’ press release, the plant produces about 120 million gallons of ethanol a year and employs about 60 people.
As the Wichita Eagle notes, Flint Hills is now one of the largest ethanol producers in the country. Its biofuels business …
… has a combined annual capacity of 820 million gallons of ethanol, a biodiesel plant and investments in biofuels technology and feedstock development.
Considering that the entire ethanol industry produced 13.3 billions of fuel in 2013, Flint Hills now controls 6.2 percent of the U.S. market. Pretty substantial for an enterprise owned by Koch Industries, which made the bulk of its vast fortune on oil.
The Kochs are hardly greenies. According to a Rolling Stone story from last September:
Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation’s waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined. The company ranks 13th in the nation for toxic air pollution. Koch’s climate pollution, meanwhile, outpaces oil giants including Valero, Chevron and Shell. Across its businesses, Koch generates 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.
A 2011 story by the Center for Public Integrity contends that while oil is the “core of the Koch business empire,” its influence extends much further.
Koch companies trade carbon emission credits in Europe and derivatives in the U.S. They make jet fuel in Alaska from North Slope oil, and gasoline in Minnesota from the oil sands of Canada. They raise cattle in Montana and manufacture spandex in China, ethanol in Iowa, fertilizer in Trinidad, nylon in Holland, napkins in France and toilet paper in Wisconsin.
Since federal guidelines call for a certain amount of ethanol to be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply, investing in ethanol might be a simple hedge, the story says.
“New or emerging markets, such as renewable fuels, are an opportunity for us to create value within the rules the government sets,” Flint Hills Resources President Brad Razook told his employees …