Unmasking NMOGA’s ties to (EVEN MORE) national astroturf organizers

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Happy Monday New Mexico. Do you have your Halloween costume picked out yet? Seems like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association does. They are dressing up as right wing attack dogs Power the Future this year.  

As you know, NMOGA is working directly with Power the Future, a Koch-funded lobby group that seems to spend the majority of its (vast) resources attacking clean energy policy around the country. New Mexico has become ground zero for PTF, going so far as to hire former Martinez-era talking head Larry Beherns to be their point person on the ground here. PTF uses their PTF-New Mexico twitter handle to attack Governor Lujan Grisham’s administration all the time, especially around issues like the Energy Transition Act and her Executive Orders declaring that New Mexico would rejoin other states in adhering to the promises of the Paris Climate Accords and other such things such as nationally leading methane rules. BUT, since that Twitter handle has so few followers, their national account usually retweets them to try and bolster their engagement numbers. If you’re really lucky, like we here at ProgressNow New Mexico are, PTF’s national figure head Daniel Turner will go directly after you and publish your picture on their national blog. Good times. 

ANYWAY, we’ve already published clear evidence that NMOGA is working directly with PTF based on a PowerPoint presentation leaked last year wherein NMOGA’s spokesperson Robert McEntyre presented alongside PTF’s Turner, with special guest, Vincent Harris. Again, as previously published, Harris and his company have deep ties to global-nationalist movements in Germany, Israel, and right here at home. One of Harris’ former employees helped organize the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 where one anti-fascist activst was murdered. 

OK, still with us? Good. 

It turns out Power the Future has additional ties with OTHER problematic groups at the national level. Some great journalism from the folks at Global Witness uncovered a string of backend technical evidence that shows PTF is connected to a group called Definers Public Affairs. Now this “public relations” firm has some very shady dealings including no-bid contracts with former EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt to ferret out career EPA employees who wouldn’t toe the Trump administration line, as well as border wall building but might be best known for having been kicked off Facebook late last year because of their “aggressive tactics” used to attack “environmentalists and commercial opponents of their clients.” 

Hmmmm. Who else do we know that likes to attack environmentalists? 

Well, it turns out that Power the Future’s website was set up using a Definers Public Affairs email address AND they share the same Google Analytics coding. Besides Power the Future, the Definers address and codes were also discovered to be behind other “astroturf websites” that focus on other sectors of the environmental movement. 

So what does this all mean? 

It means that when Power the Future states they are “…the voice of energy workers pushing back on radical green groups…” that what they mean is they are part of a much bigger machine aimed at spreading disinformation to literally pollute the narrative around clean energy initiatives like New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act and methane rules. That machine is based around a large consortium of conservative operatives with direct ties to the Trump administration with the sole aim of propping up the extraction industry and those that benefit from it the most.  And NMOGA appears to be right at the center of all this, working in close coordination with PTF. You could say “hand in glove” or to be more seasonally appropriate, “face in mask.”

So next time you read NMOGA’s rhetoric about how they are committed to things like the Governor’s climate efforts and methane rules, keep this in mind. They aren’t playing straight with us when they are also propping up the nefarious, dark money group solely focused on tearing those initiatives down.