Exxon Mobil doled out $2 million for NY fracking advertisements (UPDATED)


Exxon Mobil spent about $2.1 million on lobbying in New York in 2012, making it the second-largest spender, according to a new report from the state’s ethics board.

But just about $105,000 of that actually went to the company’s lobbyists, state records show. The rest of it — $2 million — went towards a pro-hydrofracking ad campaign.

Exxon cut a $2 million check for the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York on July 1, according to the company’s most-recent filing with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The money was for a “natural gas advertising expense,” the company reported, but doesn’t offer any specifics.

IOGA, an oil-and-gas trade group, is one of the state’s most outspoken advocates of drilling and fracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, which has been on hold in New York for more than 4.5 years.

It wasn’t immediately clear where the $2 million was spent, and we’ve got calls into both Exxon and IOGA for further clarification.

UPDATED: The money went toward a series of full-page newspaper advertisements that ran in the latter half of 2012, according to IOGA spokesman Jim Smith. The ads (here’s an example) make the case for shale-gas drilling in New York and list a number of New York-based groups that support the message, including IOGA. Exxon is not specifically listed on any of the ads, but the company is an IOGA member.

Pro-fracking groups, meanwhile, have been critical of some environmental groups and other fracking critics who haven’t registerred to lobby in New York despite participating in rallies and protests. One of those groups, the Yoko Ono-supported Artists Against Fracking, was the subject of a recent AP piece.


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  1. How much did the anti’s spend?? We do not know for some of them because they have not registered as lobbyists. Loco Ono being one who has not registered. But look at the Park Foundation and others on the island of Ithaca, they have spent tens of millions to pay college students to come to rallies when out of school or those who have yet to find a full-time job and are looking for work.

  2. Hugh Kimball on

    Anti frackers have spent minimally as this is a ground roots effort by real people. Anti frackers have nothing to gain save clean water and air. If the gas industry would spend their money on imporoving their techniques rather than trying to convince us how safe the industry is perhaps the anti frackers would not be needed.

  3. The expense item is called propaganda. Yoko Ono and all the celebrities and rich people who believe fracking is bad are not spending millions of dollars on this. That is a troll’s argument.

    Let’s compare industry advertising and individuals and groups trying to educate fellow citizens about fracking.

    Fossil fuel industry message – Fossil fuels are good and clean and nice and scientific and you need them to do anything you want to do, so just believe us. We have really attractive, clean looking people in our ads. That proves we tell the truth.

    Anti-fracking, pro-renewable energy people and groups – Read all the information that is available about fracking, pro and con. Travel to places where there has been HVHF to see what the impact is. Talk to people who live in the areas impacted and hear what their life has been like since fracking began. Read pages and pages of really dry information about proposed fracking regulations. Come to individual conclusions about the process of making a study and keeping it secret while it is supposed to be the basis of proposed regulations, which have no scientific backup although they are required to by law. See by thinking rationally that this is a convoluted, backwards, wrong way to do this.

    And the hardest part of all, making a sincere grass roots effort to talk to people who have only heard the gas industry propaganda. Explain the documented harms and impacts of HVHF to people who would rather be watching TV, but who would be very bummed in 10 years if they have to pay $30 or more for a gallon of clean water because fracking has used up most of the clean water available.

    The fossil fuel industry receives from $10 billion to $52 billion a year in subsidies from the US government. When the clean water is gone do you think the government is going to give you a subsidy to buy expensive clean water that is privatized, and probably owned by a big corporation that invests in the fossil fuel industry? Not a chance.

    Renewable, sustainable energy is the only hope for our future.

  4. Watch out the anti-frackers are looking to scare us out of a livelyhood and they want us to be dependant on the Middle East forever. What’s wrong with you people, we need jobs & cheap energy goes a long way to create those jobs.

  5. Joanne Corey on

    I wonder how much the fossil fuel industry has spent on television ads. On the Binghamton stations, it is impossible to watch any news programs without seeing several pro-fracking ads sponsored by the industry, day in and day out for months on end.

    The industry is the only one spending big bucks. Those working for an HVHF ban or continued moratorium are largely volunteers, who pay their own bus fares to go to rallies, kicking in a few extra bucks when they can to help pay the way for someone who can’t afford it or to help fund a local radio or newspaper ad. We write, call, and visit our legislators as citizens, not as paid lobbyists.

  6. Annette Champagne on

    Gees, nice ad. Blue skies. Green grass. A simple white line dividing prosperity from a depressed economy. Except in actuality it’s backwards, Pa. is on the losing side. Why not show the frack wells, the deforestation, the 100’s of trucks barreling through the small towns. Show the price of a loaf of bread. Cowards. That pretty picture is a lie and maybe there should be an accusation of false advertising.

  7. We anti-frackers don’t need – nor do we have unlimited amounts at our disposal- to spend lots of money trying to sanitize our message- we have science, truth, facts on our side. Anyone who wants to know the truth about how harmful and destructive- including to the economy- hydrofracking is need only read a few articles written by or about communities and individuals who are actually living with the devastation caused by hydrofracking. We anti’s are NOT at all against creating jobs and improving the economy- but we want it to be done with sustainable energy, renewables, which have been proven over and over to be ‘do-able’ safely and efficiently .