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Fueling US Forward Presents Scholarships to Black Youth in North Carolina, Recalling Kochs’ Troubling History on Education and Race

The fossil fuel industry’s effort to “start winning hearts and minds” arrived at a Baptist church in North Carolina recently in the form of three $1,500 scholarships for local high school students and a talk by Hubbel Relat, a Fueling US Forward representative, at a summit hosted by the Roanoke Valley Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Continue reading “Fueling US Forward Presents Scholarships to Black Youth in North Carolina, Recalling Kochs’ Troubling History on Education and Race”

The Koch Brothers Really Want Scott Pruitt to Run the EPA

On February 2, the Republican head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee temporarily changed the rules to force a confirmation vote on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, despite the fact that Democrats had boycotted the vote a day earlier. Pruitt is set for full Senate confirmation vote sometime this week.

You can count the Koch brothers among those who are eager to see Pruitt confirmed.

Before Pruitt’s nomination hearing on January 18, a coalition of 23 nonprofit groups sent a letter to the entire Senate urging his confirmation. “Attorney General Pruitt has consistently fought for Oklahoma families and communities,” the letter states, “and has been a stalwart defender against federal intrusion into state and individual rights.”

Let Elliott Negin of the Union of Concerned Scientists describe the signatories, in his piece on Huffington Post:

The two dozen nonprofit groups and Senate committee members defending Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, have at least two things in common.

Like Pruitt, they’re climate science deniers. And, like Pruitt, most of them are funded by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who own the coal, oil and gas conglomerate Koch Industries.

Negin continued:

The groups that signed the letter endorsing Pruitt include such high-profile, climate-science-denier organizations as the American Energy Alliance (AEA), whose president, Thomas Pyle, is a former Koch Industries lobbyist; the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), whose top climate disinformer, Myron Ebell, oversaw the Trump EPA transition team; and Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation. Heritage economist David Kreutzer, who maintains there is no justification for Obama administration climate policies, also served on the EPA transition team.

Those three groups and at least 15 other letter signatories have received generous support from one or more of the Koch brothers’ numerous foundations, including American Encore, the Charles Koch Foundation, Charles Koch Institute, the now defunct Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, and Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a de facto Koch bank that distributes contributions from wealthy conservatives to free-market, anti-government groups. A number of the organizations on the letter are also funded by Donors Trust, a secretive, pass-through money laundering operation that received more than $13 million from the Kochs’ Knowledge and Progress Fund between 2005 and 2014.

Negin wasn’t the first to notice Pruitt’s ties to the Kochs. In the New Yorker in December, Jane Mayer also noted:

Pruitt has clearly aligned himself with his right-wing campaign donors, including Charles and David Koch. KochPAC, the political-action committee of the brothers’ Kansas-based oil-and-chemical conglomerate, Koch Industries, contributed to Pruitt’s campaigns in 2010, 2013, and 2014. Pruitt has also been backed by several other billionaire oil-and-gas executives, who joined political forces with the Kochs during the Obama years, becoming “investors,” as they called themselves, in the Kochs’ anti-regulatory, pro-business political movement.

And when we mapped out Pruitt’s many fossil fuel industry ties on LittleSis, we devoted a whole slide to the Koch-connections, highlighting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). As you can see in the map below, Pruitt has benefited from a variety of political action committees (PACs and Super PACs) with fossil fuel allegiances, from the Republican Attorneys General Assocation (RAGA) and the Rule of Law Defense Fund, and, finally, from his longstanding ties to the Koch-tied American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

 

 

 

 

New York Times Examines Fueling U.S. Forward, the Koch-Funded “Exploitative, Sad and Borderline Racist” Campaign

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Back in August at the Red State Gathering in Denver, Fueling U.S. Forward President Charles Drevna revealed that one of the campaign’s major strategies would involve targeting minority communities. A remarkable article just published by The New York Times reveals how the group is enacting this strategy, hosting and supporting events in minority communities while promoting the “importance of domestic oil and natural gas to making people’s lives better,” as Drevna put it.

Eddie Bautista, executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, called the Fueling U.S. Forward campaign “an exploitative, sad and borderline racist strategy.” Continue reading “New York Times Examines Fueling U.S. Forward, the Koch-Funded “Exploitative, Sad and Borderline Racist” Campaign”