Exxon lobbying scandal exposes truth about NMPol’s oil problem

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Lucas
 Herndon
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Last week, a bombshell report was released by Unearthed, an investigative journalism project, that got current and former Exxon lobbyists to talk in detail about their lobbying tactics and strategies at the federal level and how, functionally, their tactics have stalled or outright halted significant policy action on climate change for decades. 

There are some very important concepts discussed during the interviews that, while the policy and lobbying efforts were focused on the national level, are clearly being utilized across the country at the states level when it comes to how Exxon specifically, and likely all major oil and gas companies, are pushing back against climate change policy and other regulatory efforts across the board.

You can read the whole report and watch the interviews in their entirety here.

As New Mexico’s own oil production surges ahead, let’s take a closer look at how the exposed tactics being employed on a national level are being used here at the Roundhouse to keep New Mexico beholden to the oil companies. 

This latest report from Unearthed just confirms what we already knew: Oil and gas companies have one singular motive and that is profit at any cost.

Perhaps one of the most important “revelations” (we’ve been saying it for years) was that Exxon utilizes “shadow groups” to push against regulatory reforms so that they, as a corporate entity, can say they support those regulations and look good in the press and to shareholders who increasingly want “greener” corporate practices. So, think of all the times ProgressNow NM has called out the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Power the Future, Americans for Prosperity, and even New Mexico Independent Petroleum Association for towing the industry line, even as their members like Exxon and Chevron go on the record as supporting, for instance, methane rule reform. This way, the oil companies themselves can support good policy, but also know that work is being done to actively oppose those regulations. We invite you to please remember that the above-listed, local, “shadow groups” and other groups are all confirmed working together behind the scenes to influence New Mexico politics in their favor, for years now. 

Another important tactic discussed during the undercover interview was the targeting of moderate democrats by Exxon’s lobbying team. “‘On the Democrat side we look for the moderates on these issues’, (Keith) McCoy continued, highlighting figures including Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema;” 

Sound familiar? 

You don’t have to go back very far in NM political history to find a group of obstructionist moderate Democrats who, after years of holding up important policy decisions on a host of issues, were finally outed in 2020’s primary process. Of course, not all of them were, and as evidenced by the lack of any real oil and gas regulation-oriented policy passed during this year’s Legislature, it’s clear to see the fiscal impact of the oil and gas lobby still heavily tipping the scale in their direction up in Santa Fe. 

There have been some extraordinary pieces of journalism in New Mexico over the last few years covering these issues on the local level. Besides our own continued monitoring of some of the usual suspects, NM Ethics Watch, Common Cause, and other NGO’s have persistently published report after report about how bad oil and gas money is for democracy on the whole in New Mexico, and this latest report from Unearthed just confirms what we already knew: Oil and gas companies have one singular motive and that is profit at any cost.

Join ProgressNow New Mexico and sign our petition at www.CrudeIntentionsNM.com to show the elected leaders of this state that we are tired of not having real access to our legislature and we want out from under the outsized thumb of oil and gas NOW!  

 

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