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The Koch Brothers and their fossil fuel industry allies are waging a major campaign to rebrand oil and gas and to limit consumer choice and stifle clean tech innovation by attacking electric vehicles (EVs) and other clean energy solutions. A recent investigation by Peter Stone revealed the Koch network plans “to spend about $10 million dollars per year to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles.”
In August, a new oil and gas front group called Fueling U.S. Forward launched with a slick website, flashy GIFs, and infographics, confirming Stone’s reporting and the Koch-funded campaign to promote oil and gas and combat electric vehicles.
Koch vs. Clean, a DeSmog project, seeks to expose the individuals, organizations and tactics behind these senseless attacks on electric vehicles, consumer choice and the innovative clean energy technologies the public demands and deserves.
How the Koch’s Fueling U.S. Forward attacks clean energy and electric vehicles
The Fueling U.S. Forward campaign strategy is evident in the FuelingUSForward.com website and associated social media assets. The campaign relies on tired, oft-debunked arguments for the necessity and value of oil and natural gas. One banner image boasts of “Innovation that Improves and Enriches Lives.” Of course, oil is a 150 year old technology that has polluted our air, water, and the atmosphere that warms our planet.
The site also reads: “A diverse energy mix – including fuels like oil and natural gas – is key to ensuring Americans continue to prosper and thrive.”
Other elements of the campaign were also hinted at in an advertorial that Koch Industries ran in an April issue of “The Hill.” The ad noted “the tax credits (up to $7,500) the government offers to consumers who purchase hybrid and electric vehicles. Such credits may seem enticing to the general public, but the reality is that 90 percent of the beneficiaries come from the top income bracket.”
Fueling U.S. Forward and the Koch campaign against EVs will argue that government shouldn’t be subsidizing electric vehicles that drivers either don’t want or can’t afford. We debunk these EV myths and others here.
Who’s Who in the Koch’s Fueling U.S. Forward campaign
Stone’s article outlined how James Mahoney, “a confidante of the brothers and member of their company’s board,” has teamed up with Charles Drevna, currently a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, to develop and coordinate the campaign with oil and natural gas industry leaders.
As it happens, Drevna spoke as CEO and President of Fueling U.S. Forward at the RedState Gathering in Denver, Colorado, and will again at the Energy Expectations Conference hosted by U.S. Energy in October in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The PR firm tapped by Drevna (and, presumably, the Kochs) to run Fueling U.S. Forward is Hamilton Place Strategies, a policy and public affairs consulting firm that specializes in communications strategy and, as one reporter described, is run by a team that “have logged lots of hours on the front lines of spin.”
Hamilton Place Strategies is run by Tony Fratto, former deputy press secretary in the George W. Bush White House and Bush-Cheney campaign communications specialist. Partners in the firm are all predominantly GOP establishment veterans, many of whom have spent time on the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign and the McCain-Palin 2008 campaign.
There are more Koch-allied actors in this effort, and we will continue to track the individuals and organizations involved with Fueling U.S. Forward.
Here at KochvsClean.com you can find:
- a deep-dive into the Koch brothers’ ongoing assault against clean energy
- facts to counter the Koch-driven myths about electric vehicles
- links to more resources about this Koch campaign and about the promise of electric vehicles
- a blog that will track the Koch vs. Clean campaign disguised as Fueling U.S. Forward, and other relevant news about EVs.