Last week, Capital New York reported on “belt-tightening” at the Independent Oil and Gas Association (IOGA) of New York that included downsizing its staff and severing its relations with the lobbying firm Hinman Straub and its affiliate Corning Place Communications. Brad Gill, director of IOGA of NY, told Capital New York that his group “doesn’t have the resources to push back against” anti-fracking groups in the state. According to the story, IOGA of NY has lost 20% of its members with the big players all but giving up on the state. “Right now, Shell could care less about New York,” Gill told Capital New York.
While IOGA of NY’s membership may indeed be dwindling, their claim that the gas industry is short on resources compared to the anti-fracking movement seems somewhat disingenuous. In 2012, the group spent $2 million from ExxonMobil on an ad campaign supporting fracking in New York.
IOGA is only one of the lobbies advancing the oil and gas industry’s New York agenda. America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), the group responsible for the pro-gas documentary Truthland, spent more than $380,000 lobbying in New York alone this year. The group also spent $1.2 million on nationwide media and public relations in 2012, including $250,000 to IHS Global, which published a study claiming that fracking would produce 1.7 million new jobs, as the Nation‘s Lee Fang reported. ANGA is also behind the website Friends of Natural Gas NY, featured in the IOGA ad to the right.
Though we may indeed see IOGA of NY’s profile diminishing going forward (perhaps due in part to the bad press generated when it was revealed that several New York State environmental contractors were tied to the group), the oil and gas industry has ample resources to continue its New York campaign and gives little indication that it intends to cease its push for to expand its New York presence.