Last week, Ryan Flynn, the executive director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), announced his departure from the organization, citing personal reasons and that he’s “exploring new opportunities in the private sector,” despite his current contract going through 2024.
Flynn, a former cabinet secretary under the Susana Martinez administration, joined NMOGA in 2016. Since his ascension to the top of the organization, it has led to crippling defeats in New Mexico for oil producers.
Under Flynn’s leadership, the association took a “neutral” stance on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “mini” Green New Deal in 2019, a bill that solely seeks to destroy the oil and gas industry in New Mexico under the guise of “environmentalism” and reaching a “net-zero” carbon emissions standard.
Flynn touts how NMOGA prides itself on its “nonpartisanship.” However, under his leadership, it has almost exclusively given monetary donations to Democrats, including $25,000 to Democrat Speaker Brian Egolf’s PAC in the 2020 cycle, which helped pick off moderate pro-energy Democrats and schlong the GOP in many competitive seats.
In 2018, NMOGA funneled $5,500 to rabidly anti-energy then-U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s gubernatorial race, helping her reach the governor’s mansion, directly helping the hostile woman take the reins and ram through the Green New Deal.
In October of 2019, after Lujan Grisham’s win, NMOGA had her speak at their annual meeting, where she claimed to support the industry that the same year she worked to undermine and attempt to destroy.
NMOGA directly funded a party hostile to pro-energy Republicans, and to make matters worse, it defended Democrat former U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in her fight against current U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell in the 2020 2nd Congressional District race.
Torres Small endorsed Gov. Lujan Grisham’s “mini” Green New Deal, while Herrell has been nothing but a champion for oil and gas during her time in the state Legislature and on the campaign trail. Under Flynn’s leadership, the association also donated $1,500 to Torres Small’s husband, state Rep. Nathan Small (D-Doña Ana).
Flynn’s defense of Torres Small led to Republican leaders sending a letter lambasting his use of NMOGA as a Democrat political machine, writing, “So, what is Flynn’s motive? We aren’t exactly sure, but this pattern of lies has effectively destroyed any trust we had in him to be a fair advocate for NMOGA.”
“While we cannot dictate to NMOGA who should be running its organization, we would suggest the association consider putting a person in its leadership who does not spread misinformation and puts personal political preferences ahead of the interests of the oil and gas industry and the workers it supports,” the letter continued.
In January, Flynn praised Joe Biden as he began to dismantle energy producers, cut off the Keystone XL Pipeline project, and cut off federal permits for drilling on federal land. Flynn said he was “encouraged” by these moves.
In this legislative session, Flynn’s NMOGA once again took “neutral” stances on rabidly anti-energy proposals, such as S.B. 11, which would have forced through “clean fuel standards,” ultimately driving up the price of gas on consumers by over 20 cents per gallon. New Mexicans heard crickets from Flynn…
These costly anti-oil proposals, which big national oil companies can afford to take on for a PR stunt to seem more “environmentally friendly,” will not fare well for smaller producers in our state, as they barely hold on as it is.
After this massive record of failure, not to mention Flynn disgracing the association by getting a DWI while driving under the influence with Susana Martinez’s fundraiser, Jessica Perez, it is a travesty he was not removed years ago.
It is unclear who will now take the reins at the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, but one can only hope it will be an actual champion for New Mexicans and the critical oil and gas industry.