One of the state’s leading oil-and-gas-industry trade groups has cut ties with the lobbying and public relations firms it has contracted with since 2008.
The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York first using Albany-based Hinman Straub Advisors and Corning Place Communications, the firm’s PR branch, during the Paterson Administration, when the state Department of Environmental Conservation began putting together guidelines for gas drilling and hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale.
Now, financial restrictions have forced IOGA to drop the firms for the time being, according to Corning Place’s James Smith, who had been serving as the industry group’s spokesman. IOGA had paid the two firms more than $700,000 since 2008, according to disclosure records.
“We can confirm that the relationship is severed at this point,” Smith said. “But we could partner with them in the future if conditions change.”
The break was first reported by Capital New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, which inherited the fracking review in 2011, has yet to make a decision on whether to open the Marcellus to drilling. IOGA’s membership decline has coincided with the bankruptcy of Norse Energy, a Norwegian firm that had headquartered its U.S. operations in the Buffalo area.
IOGA had also contracted in recent years with The West Firm, the law firm owned by top industry lobbyist Tom West. But West said that work was for specific work on proposed regulations, not an ongoing retainer for lobbying.