How big oil keeps a grip on New Mexico – with the help of a major lobbyist
Floodlight's latest, with the Carlsbad Current-Argus, reveals that local governments in New Mexico's Permian Basin have been spending public dollars to employ an influential global consulting firm that has close links to fossil fuel companies.
The firm, FTI, "helped design, staff and run organizations and websites funded by energy companies that can appear to represent grass-roots support for fossil-fuel initiatives," according to an investigation by the New York Times.
Emails, contracts and other records obtained by Floodlight and the watchdog organization Documented show how FTI has used its footholds in the city of Carlsbad and in Eddy county for years to help push pro fossil-fuel messaging and policy. At the same time, FTI has been able to give its energy company clients easy access to local officials. The firm and one of its spinoffs are not registered as lobbyists with the state.
In the first quarter of this year alone, Carlsbad and Eddy county together paid at least $50,000 for FTI’s influence services. These publicly funded lobbying efforts have helped to maintain the fossil fuel industry’s stronghold in New Mexico – a state where Indigenous communities have criticized previous oil and gas policies as environmental racism because of the long-term impact on their health and land.