ProgressNow New Mexico has been working for the last few months to unravel the complicated ties that the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) has with numerous outside entities working to control the narrative around extraction in the state. We’ve found heaps of evidence to support our claims that NMOGA has evolved from just another industry advocate to fully trying to change the culture of New Mexico.
We think it’s important you understand why this matters so here’s our quick rundown on everything you need to know.
- In 2017, NMOGA Executive Director Ryan Flynn gave a speech to members where he announced his intention to make NMOGA “the most powerful organization in the state of New Mexico.”
- Throughout the 2018 Legislative Session, we saw record amounts of spending from NMOGA to influence policy in that, the last year of Governor Susana Martinez’s last year in office.
- Sometime that spring or early summer, NMOGA hosted a meeting with a “former” Koch Industries communications expert, Daniel Turner.
- Turner founded the astroturf lobbying firm Power the Future which bills itself as a pro-energy worker outfit, but really spends massive amounts of money to work against renewable and clean energy initiatives at the state level around the country.
- Power the Future hired former (disgraced) Martinez spokesperson Larry Behrens to put a local spin on their New Mexico work.
- At that Spring 2018 meeting, Vincent Harris also spoke to the gathering about the communication strategy his company, Harris Media, would be helping NMOGA institute in New Mexico.
- Harris himself has ties to extreme nationalist campaigns around the globe from some of the furthest right candidates in the US, to the literal anti-semitic and racist nationalist of the AFD party in Germany.
- Harris also employed at least one person who was involved in organizing the deadly Unite the Right rally in Virginia in 2017.
- It was also uncovered recently that Power the Future, on the national level, has ties to another large media firm, Definers Public Affairs. That group was kicked off Facebook last year after it was uncovered they’d violated the terms of service by launching multiple fake pages and used other unfair practices to influence energy-related campaigns.
There is no doubt that NMOGA is working with all of these nefarious characters. To what degree is unknown, but when NMOGA redesigned their website, logo, messaging, and social media content around the same time as these meetings were happening, they evolved from just another industry-supporting lobby group to a powerhouse messaging platform that bombards the New Mexico media landscape with a never-ending barrage of pro-oil, pro-drilling, pro-industry hype.
In an era where hate-filled rhetoric from the President is seen on a daily basis, the companies that support his jingoist agenda should be thrust further into the public light. While NMOGA contends their just working to promote the extraction industry, problematic in itself because you know, climate change, their choice of business partners should concern all of us.