By Ben Jervey • Thursday, October 19, 2017 – 14:33
Over this past weekend, with no announcement or notice, the website for Fueling U.S. Forward went dark. The Koch-funded campaign that had set out to promote the “positives” of fossil fuels has seemingly shut down, having wiped the website from the internet and deleting all traces on Facebook and all of its videos off of Youtube.
The abrupt end of the campaign, barely a year old, comes after a summer in which the group’s messaging clearly pivoted from celebrating fossil fuels to attacking clean energy and electric vehicles.
Upon its launch in August 2016, Fueling U.S. Forward CEO and President Charles Drevna told a crowd at the Red State Gathering that the campaign would set out to promote the “positives” of fossil fuels, which he described as “reliable, abundant, efficient and sustainable.”
“We’ve got to take this to the emotional and personal level,” said Drevna.
Alex Fitzsimmons, then the Communications Director for Fueling U.S. Forward and now on staff in the Department of Energy, described the effort as “winning the hearts of minds” of Americans.
The campaign born under the Fueling U.S. Forward brand had been anticipated by a report by investigative journalist Peter Stone, who revealed in early 2016 that the Koch network planned “to spend about $10 million dollars per year to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles.”
For months, the campaign revolved around cheerleading for fossil fuels, through flashy videos and infographics released on social media, and by sponsoring events and populating panels to sing the praises of oil, gas, and coal, oftentimes targeting minority groups (a goal that Drevna had publicly verbalized) with pro-fossil fuel messaging.