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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

There's a New Koch-Funded, Pro-Fossil Fuel Group in Town


Some oil men are desperate to market fossil fuels as good for America. To that end, a new organization launched last weekend called Fueling U.S. Forward, whose goal is to put a positive spin on fossil fuels. The organization launched in Denver, Colorado, at the Red State Gathering 2016. It is financed by Koch Industries, DeSmog Blog reported over the weekend.

“We need a sustainable energy to ensure the future of the country,” Charles Drevna, the organization’s president and CEO, said in Denver. The energy needed should be “reliable, abundant, efficient and sustainable fuels.” He added: “That's of course the fossil fuels.”

A glance at the organization’s website backs up what Drevna told the audience in Denver. Fueling U.S. Forward believes that the “vast majority of oil and natural gas that we use to power our day is available right here in America.” The organization also believes that fossil fuels “fuel innovation and save lives.” Here’s the key phrase listed under the organization’s beliefs: “When we talk about powering our future, we can’t afford to leave anything off the table.” It sounds like it is lifted out of the Republican National Convention’s platform on energy which favors an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that takes “advantage of all our American God-given resources.”

What exactly does Fueling U.S. Forward plan to do? It wants to “take the conversation out of Washington, D.C. and into local communities," Drevna said. And it will do so, he said, by talking to the American people. Or better put, it will talk at the American people and try to convince them that continuing to pump fossil fuels is positive for the U.S. “We've got to take this to the emotional and personal level,” Drevna said last weekend. “Oil and natural gas, they're not the fuels of the past and maybe the present or a necessary evil. They are the future.”

Fueling U.S. Forward is the same old message that the oil and gas industry has put forth about fossil fuels for years. “From what we see so far, Fueling U.S. Forward is just a shiny new can that holds the same old rotten messages about the alleged and exaggerated benefits of oil and gas,” Ben Jervey, researcher and editor with DeSmog working on KochvsClean, and the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School, told TriplePundit.

It seems the organization's goal is to influence younger people. As Jervey said, “It's clear through their website and social media assets that they're trying to reach the young folks and the influencers, to somehow reclaim some sense of necessity.”

We are only into the eighth month of 2016, and the U.S. has already experienced many extreme weather events. A recent Huffington Post article listed those extreme weather events, which included the California wildfires. During the first six months of this year, California had double the amount of acres burning than during the same time period in 2015, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The latest fire broke out in San Bernardino County in Southern California on Tuesday.  Dubbed the Blue Cut Fire, it has burned over 30,000 acres and as of Wednesday wasn’t contained at all. And Californians can expect more wildfires. A new study found that there will be a surge of wildfires in the West as a “consequence of climate change.”

And parts of Louisiana are facing deadly floods. The floods have displaced 20,000 people and ruined many houses and other buildings. The cause of the floods is “crazy rainfall,” Bill McKibben wrote in a piece for the Huffington Post. That crazy rainfall occurs “when you’ve heated the atmosphere, allowing it to hold more water vapor,” McKibben wrote. He links the floods in Louisiana to what is heating the atmosphere, the “carbon and methane we’re pouring into the atmosphere at such a breakneck pace.”

Tell that to Drevna and the other folks at Fueling U.S. Forward. But it will likely fall on deaf ears as they have long been deaf to the plight of people who are victims of extreme weather events linked to climate change.

Image credit: Rennet Stowe

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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